Lib Dems promise end to ‘unreasonable’ airline fees

9th Apr 2010

Launching their manifesto ahead of the General Election, the Liberal Democrats have pledged an end to “unscrupulous and unreasonable airline fees” in the British aviation sector.

If the party wins power in May 6th, leader Nick Clegg also outlined plans to replace Air Passenger Duty (APD) with a per-plane tax that will “help to stop planes flying half empty and encourage people to use less polluting means of travel”.

The Labour government has introduced a number of changes to APD in recent years, with opposition parties arguing the punitive charge amounts to a “tax on holidays”. However, the government argues it encourages ecologically friendly transport, taxing those who pollute through frequent travel.

Also on the Liberal Democrat agenda was a new high-speed rail link, designed to encourage people not to take domestic flights. Expansion of Heathrow, or any airport in south-east England, was also ruled out.

“We will reverse Labour plans to expand Heathrow Airport and oppose Boris Johnson’s proposals for a new airport in the Thames Estuary,” read a statement.


“Unlike the conservatives we oppose all airport expansion serving London and the South East and so would block expansion at Stansted and Gatwick as well.”

Labour remains committed to the expansion of the UK’s largest airport, despite a recent setback.

The full Liberal Democrat manifesto can be seen here.

Under Pressure

In response to the announcements from the party Bob Atkinson, travel expert at, said: “The Lib Dems’ anti-Ryanair manifesto doesn’t explain how they plan to regulate and potentially legislate on airline fees and charges. 

“Most of the fees Ryanair and other low cast carriers charge are optional and none are hidden. In the past I’ve been critical of low cost airlines, however we must remember they have actually driven down the cost of flights over the last ten years making travel more accessible for millions of people.”



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