Business Travel Tech Talk London, 16 October,
Business Travel Awards Europe, 30 October, JW
3rd Annual Business Travel Intelligence Summit
Airlines have delivered a mixed response to UK government proposals to change aviation tax that could be based on aircraft occupancy.
The current Air Passenger Duty levy has met with widespread industry hostility, while the latest plans outlined in the government”s pre-budget report, have provoked a cautious reaction.
Any new system is slated to be introduced by November 2009, with current APD rates frozen for next year.
”We intend to do this in 2009 but it”s about how we design the charge,” a Treasury spokesman told ABTN.
”One way is to look at it from a maximum take-off weight basis that the [aviation] industry has put to us in the past. People don”t want to see half-empty aircraft.”
The Treasury will now launch a consultation process with various departments including those at Transport and Business, to see how the new charge could be implemented.
One of the major complaints concerning the current system is that the ”2.4bn ($4.9bn) annual charges raised by APD do not contribute towards the environment, but the Treasury says that this may well change.
”I am sure that people will put to us whether or not [tax] ringfencing is an option and we would consider that in the round,” added the spokesman. ”We would look at raising ”520m more.”
UK regional airlines reacted cautiously to the news. ”As the Chancellor constructs his new tax, it is crucial he does not penalise isolated areas, with a one-size fits all tax,” said Flybe chief commercial officer, Mike Rutter.
”Communities such as the north of Scotland, the south west, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands rely on smaller aircraft. Any tax that doesn”t” look at the carbon footprint of aircraft will simply open the door to carriers to create artificial ”We”ll pay your tax promotions.”
”The crux of the issue here is that all aircraft older than 15 years, should be banned from the UK.”
Ryanair however, delivered a predictably robust and alternative view to Chancellor Darling”s tax proposal. ”This is just another tax on ordinary passengers from government ministers swanning around on private aircraft,” said a spokesman.
”This Labour government lied when it proposed so spend the ”1bn raised from doubling APD on the environment.
”Not a penny has been spend on the environment and they are back stealing more from ordinary passengers going on holiday.”