EasyJet has pitched into the row over Air Passenger Duty by claiming planned changes will benefit long-haul business travellers over families holidaying closer to home in Europe.
The budget carrier claims that long-haul business class travellers will see a huge cut in the amount of tax they pay of up to £56 per passenger under current government proposals. But millions of passengers flying to mainland Europe face a tax hike as Government plans to further increase APD are implemented.
Under the proposals a family of four taking a short break or holiday will face a 33% tax hike leaving them paying a total of £64 for each break in Europe – and £128 if they fly on holiday from Northern Ireland or Scotland.
APD would rise from £12 to as much as £16 per person for flights up to 2,000 miles but the reforms would see reduced rates and the number of tax bands on long haul flights. Proposals would see APD charged on premium passengers flying on flights over 6,000 miles being reduced from £186 to £130 from April 2012, according to easyJet.
Chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “Family holidays in Europe are being clobbered by the government. This is unfair on hard working families. Why should long-haul business class passengers be expected to pay so much less, while families who just want to enjoy a well earned break pay so much more?
“Britain is one of the only European countries to tax air passengers. Raising this tax contradicts the Government’s pledges to fairness and to the environment. It will hurt our economy and harm British jobs.”
She spoke out on the day the Government’s consultation on APD closes, reiterating independent research for the carrier which predicts the current proposals on APD would cut UK passenger numbers by 3 million a year, lead to 77,000 job losses and cut tourist spending by £475 million a year.
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