The bosses of four top airline groups have renewed their offensive against rises in Air Passenger Duty.
Speaking ahead of the introduction of the EU Emissions Trading System from January 1, easyJet chief Carolyn McCall, Willie Walsh from IAG, Michael O'Leary from Ryanair and Steve Ridgway from Virgin Atlantic once again attacked APD as a “self-defeating tax”.
“Airlines’ entry into the EU ETS on January 1 brings the injustice of APD into even sharper relief,” they said in a joint statement. “APD was initially conceived as a green tax, and the Treasury still maintains it brings ‘environmental benefits’.
“The reality is that no APD revenue has ever been spent on environmental benefit. In contrast, ETS means that all future growth in European aviation will be carbon-neutral, and provides an incentive for further reductions in emissions.”
They added: “The government’s own figures show that UK aviation was paying enough to cover its carbon costs in full in 2008, since when APD has more than doubled on many routes.
“Under ETS, UK airlines face paying €400m a year by 2020. Annual revenue from APD already stands at £2.5bn, and the government wants it to rise to £3.6bn by 2016.
“We are already tackling our climate change impacts and ETS, while far from perfect, goes with the grain of improving environmental performance. APD actually makes it more difficult for airlines to invest in carbon-reducing technology.
“APD is a self-defeating tax that pays for no environmental benefits, chokes off economic activity and cuts jobs. Only the UK holds back its own economic recovery with a tax of this nature. APD must go."
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