Air tax changes will increase pollution, says easyJet
June 25th, 2011 by jason

Government proposals to increase taxes on short flights and reduce them on long ones will lead to longer flights and more pollution, says easyJet.

A report commissioned by the budget airline says the proposed changes will:

  • Reduce UK passenger numbers by 3 million a 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
  • Lead to the loss of up to 77,000 jobs

The government proposes to increase Air Passenger Duty (APD) from £12 to £16 per person on flights up to 2,000 miles, but reduce the rates and number of tax bands on long haul flights. Some environmentalists, as well as easyJet, favour a fixed tax on flights rather than passengers, so that the fuller the plane, the lower the tax per passenger.

“This independent report shows that the Government’s proposals on APD would be bad for the environment and the economy,” said easyJet CEO Carolyn McCall. “APD has already risen by 14 per cent since 2007 on short haul flights. This 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.”

Virgin Atlantic also weighed in to the debate, saying: “We share concerns about the impact of further increases on APD on family holidays, British business, and tourism alike. In Britain we already have the highest flight tax in Europe, with a family of four travelling to Florida paying £240 in APD alone.”

However, Virgin predictably supported shifting taxes from long flights onto short ones: “Currently passengers within the EU account for 78 per cent of all flights, but just 41 per cent of APD revenues, and we hope that the Government will look to address this in its current review.”

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