UK High Court backs air travel tax

The UK High Court has backed the British government’s plan for a “green” tax on air travel. A judge rejected a legal challenge brought by the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO)
and two of member companies - Tui UK and Kuoni. The air passenger duty, which raises two billion pound sterling a year, as angered tour operators, yet the high court judge said the tax was lawful and was ” a proportional measure” aimed at reducing damage to the environment.

The FTO questioned whether the Air Passenger Duty (APD) was for the benefit of the environment and described it as “greenwash” and a “stealth tax of the skies.”

In light of the ruling, the FTO has said it was disappointed. The government’s decision “to ignore the industry’s calls for this exemption effectively imposed a major and wholly unexpected financial penalty for the sector to absorb, one which disadvantages it against its many travel and airline industry competitors”, the FTO told the Guardian newspaper.

“The retrospective imposition of the tax increase on bookings already made shows that this element of the tax could in no way contribute to the Treasury’s stated environmental aims.”