EasyJet commissioned report states that the UK government’s plan to increase APD will lead to an economic slowdown for the country and increased levels of harmful pollutants. The budget airline favours per-plane tax rather than a per-person duty.

As per an independent report that was commissioned by the low-cost airline EasyJet, increasing the Air Passenger Duty (APD) would have a ‘destructive’ effect on the economy, the environment and jobs.

The report that was published on the airline’s website yesterday said that the changes in APD would result in reduction of UK passenger numbers by three million a year, augmentation of CO2 emissions by 360,000 tonnes a year and diminishing of tourist spending in the UK by £475 million a year.

EasyJet fears the increase could persuade many Britons to cancel holiday travels, especially short, weekend breaks. The airline believes that those budget travellers who look for cheap tickets on flights will perhaps be put off by this increased APD.

The government intends to increase the APD from £12 to (up to) £16 per passenger for flights up to 2000 miles and decrease the rates and number of tax bands on long haul flights. The report says that even though the tax variation would trim down the total number of flights they would eventually end up increasing CO2 emissions by encouraging more people to buy long haul flight tickets and thus making them popular.

EasyJet, a carrier known to offer tickets on cheap flights, favours a per-plane tax as against the move to charge per-passenger tax. Incidentally, the alternative favoured by the budget airline was considered by the coalition Government at one point.

EasyJet CEO, Carolyn McCall urged the Government to think again on aviation taxation, “This independent report shows that the Government’s proposals on APD would be bad for the environment and the economy. APD has already risen by 140% 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.

“easyJet is in favour of a move to a per plane 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,” Carolyn McCall was quoted as saying by different media reports.

The report states that the changes would also result in the shrinking of the UK gross domestic product by £2.6 billion every year, which could lead to the loss of up to 77,000 jobs and affect regional airports much more than London airports.

Virgin Atlantic ‘Share Concerns’

Virgin Atlantic also issued a statement in regards to the findings of the report. A Virgin Atlantic’s spokesperson said, “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, if the Government is determined that increases are necessary, then these should be apportioned fairly. 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% of all flights, but just 41% of APD revenues, and we hope that the Government will look to address this in its current review,” the airline’s spokesperson continued.

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