The UK aviation community is waiting with bated breath to hear the outcome of next week’s Budget.
What will come as a disappointment to many is that recent reports suggest the government is considering dropping its plans for a per plane tax, to replace the controversial air passenger duty (APD).
The government has confirmed it will be making an announcement about APD as part of the Budget on March 23.
Before last year’s election both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties said they would address APD if they were to come to power.
In its manifesto, the Lib Dem party said it would change APD into a per plane tax, while the Conservatives promised to reform APD, but did not say how.
The prime minister himself, however, pledged to change APD to a per plane tax, during a question and answer session with Easyjet last July.
At the event, David Cameron said: “We want to move to a per aeroplane tax.”
“I think it’s right to tax planes rather than people,” he said, “because otherwise you do get this rather perverse situation of an empty plane causing as much pollution as a full plane and not really paying any tax, and a full plane, possibly even an Easyjet plane, paying a whole heap of tax because it’s a per person tax.”
Andrew McConnell, Easyjet’s corporate affairs manager, said: “If this weekend’s press reports were to be true, easyJet would be very disappointed.
“A per plane tax would benefit four out of five passengers, and encourage greener behaviour by airlines.”
Airlines such as Easyjet support a per plane tax, as it means they pay less tax per passenger, while some legacy airlines who carry fewer passengers as they have more classes support a per passenger tax.
The vast majority of airlines, however, support a cut in the tax.