Flybe slams UK air tax proposals

Flybe has called upon the
Conservative Party to reject the London-centric attack on regional
transport, proposed by its ‘Quality of Life’ Policy Group.
Responding to reports that John Gummer and millionaire ecologist Zac
Goldsmith want to introduce a new domestic aviation, Flybe Chief
Executive Jim French said “Imposing a tax on domestic flying is a slap
in the face for the UK regions and is sadly yet-another example of
London-centric policy making that ignores the world outside the M25. For
the record, we at Flybe agree with Gummer and Goldsmith that transport
from London Heathrow to places like Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle are
not best served by air travel - the rail infrastructure into London
meets such demand and that’s why we don’t offer such services. However,
policy designed to solve London-centric angst cannot simply be applied
to the rest of the country without seriously damaging regional economies
that have come to rely on aviation”.

French continued “As politicians debate what their response should be to
climate change, my plea is that we don’t lose perspective on the
emissions made by UK domestic air travel which currently accounts for
just 0.4% of total UK C02 emissions. And that from a country which is
responsible for 2% of total global emissions.”

Commenting on Flybe’s approach to its environmental impact, French said
“We alone have spent $2billion modernising our fleet, phasing out our
older aircraft and realising a 50.48% reduction in CO2 emissions. By
2009, we’ll have one of the youngest fleet of aircraft in the world and
by launching the world’s first eco-label for aircraft, our passengers
know exactly the environmental impact of their flight before they even
board the aircraft.

“The regional traveller who currently spends 90 minutes flying from
Southampton to Aberdeen does not have the luxury of spending 9 hours on
a train - with two changes thrown in for good measure. For that
passenger, flying is not a luxury but a necessity.”

“I’m not a politician but it strikes me that killing off domestic
aviation for political reasons might win a few votes in London is no way
to make policy and no way to treat the rest of the country”.