asyJet, the UK’s largest airline today warned that millions of passengers flying in Britain and mainland Europe face an aviation tax hike if Government proposals to increase Air Passenger Duty are implemented. Yet at the same time the Government is proposing that long haul business class travellers will see a huge cut in the amount of tax they pay of up to £56 per passenger.
The Government’s consultation on air travel taxes closes today with short haul, domestic and European passengers facing more tax than ever before. Under the proposals a family of four wanting to enjoy a short break or holiday will face a 33% tax hike leaving them paying a total of £64 for each break in Europe - and £128 if they fly on holiday to Northern Ireland or Scotland.
easyJet’s Chief Executive Carolyn McCall said, “Family holidays in Europe are being clobbered by the Government. This is unfair on hard working families. Why should long haul business class passengers be expected to pay so much less, while families who just want to enjoy a well earned break pay so much more?”
“Britain is one of the only European countries to tax air passengers. Raising this tax contradicts the Government’s pledges to fairness and to the environment. It will hurt our economy and harm British jobs.”
easyJet has already published an independent report by Frontier Economics, which shows that the Government’s proposals would be bad for the environment and the British economy, and the airline will continue to press the Government for a fairer deal for air passengers. The report predicted that the proposals would:
Reduce UK passenger numbers by 3 million per year
Increase CO² emissions by up to 360,000 tonnes per year
Reduce tourist spending in the UK by £475m a year
Reduce UK GDP by £2.6 billion per year
Read to the loss of up to 77,000 jobs
The Government’s proposals, published in March, would increase APD from £12 to (up to) £16 per person for flights up to 2000 miles and reduce rates and the number of tax bands on long haul flights. Proposals would see APD charged on premium passengers flying on flights over 6000 miles being reduced from £186 to £130 from April 2012.
The report also finds that although the changes would reduce the total number of flights they would increase CO² emissions by encouraging more long haul flights.
easyJet has long campaigned against APD, favouring instead a per plane tax which would be fairer on passengers and encourage airlines to be greener. The Conservatives and Lib Dems both pledged to move to a greener tax in their 2010 election manifestos and the Coalition Government committed to introduce a ‘per flight’ tax but appear to have reversed the policy.
APD has already risen by 140% since 2007 on short haul flights. The report provides convincing evidence that the Government should not impose further increases in APD on short haul flights and should rethink its policy on aviation taxation.