The proposed changes to Air Passenger Duty (APD), which was originally introduced as a green tax on aviation, will result in an increase of CO2 emissions by up to 360,000 tonnes per year, a new study has revealed.
Under the current government proposals, announced as part of the annual Budget in March, APD would be increased from £12 to £16 per person on flights of up to 2000 miles, but reduced on long-haul flights.
According to research by Frontier Economics, commissioned by Easyjet, these changes will increase CO2 emissions by encouraging more long-haul flights.
Carolyn McCall, Easyjet’s CEO, has called on the government to rethink its strategy for aviation taxation: “This independent report shows that the government proposals on APD would be bad for the environment and the economy.”
Virgin Atlantic has also come out in support of the report’s findings that APD is “illogical” and anti-green – a spokeswoman said:
“Historically the percentage increase in this tax has been much higher for long haul flights than it has for short haul flights where alternative forms of travel often exist. This is illogical for a tax that is claimed to be an environmental one.
“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.”
The report also predicted that if the government’s proposals for APD went through, UK passenger numbers would fall by 3 million per year, reducing UK GDP by £2.6 billion per year.
Easyjet’s McCall said: “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.
“Easyjet is in favour of a per plane tax [as opposed to the current per person tax]. Four out of five British passengers would be better off under such a tax and, more importantly, it would encourage the industry to fly more efficiently.”
The low-cost carrier has started a public campaign against APD – ‘Tax planes not people’. For more information, click here.