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21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
Easyjet has blamed a doubling in losses on an increase in the price of fuel combined with a hike in passenger taxes and charges, including air passenger duty (APD).
The airline has announced a £153 million loss before tax for the six months up to March 31.
The figure represents a 94% increase on the amount lost during the same period in 2009/10.
In a statement, Easyjet said the loss was in line with expectations, with £43 million of the increase in pre-tax loss accounted for by the hike in fuel prices.
The remaining £74 million increase in pre-tax loss is down to a rise in “passenger taxation accounts” of £21 million.
Carolyn McCall, Easyjet’s CEO, said: “The past six months has been tough with sharply rising fuel costs combined with cautious behaviour by consumers and an adverse impact from taxes on passengers.
While, Easyjet can have little influence on fuel prices, it is planning a campaign against APD, and the government’s future plans for the tax.
According to Andrew McConnell, Easyjet’s corporate affairs manager, the government is considering implementing the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which will be introduced in 2012, on top of APD.
“There is a possibility for a short-haul passenger that APD could go up to £16, when at the moment it is £11,” he said.
For example, the tax per tonne of CO2 emitted on flights between London and Nice could be £172, while flights from London to Los Angeles it would be just £95.
While full details have not yet been revealed, Easyjet’s campaign is likely to focus on changing the duty from a per passenger tax to a per plane tax, and reducing the tax once the ETS comes into force.
In this year’s Budget, Chancellor George Osbourne said the Tory-Lib Dem coalition had hoped to change the tax from a per passenger duty to a per plane tax, as per their election manifestoes, but that this would be “illegal under international law”.
McConnell, however, dismissed this claim: “Following legal guidance that Easyjet and other airlines have received, a per plane tax would be legal.
“Easyjet believes that APD should be a fairer and greener tax, and the government should push forward its plans for a per plane levy.”