Air Passenger Duty should either be scrapped or dramatically reduced to be fair for all, Flybe has urged chancellor George Osborne.
The regional airline has stressed in an open letter that, at a minimum, a return domestic flight should only have APD levied on it once.
The letter follows a submission recently made to the Treasury on options for supporting English regional airports from the impact of APD devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Chief executive, Saad Hammad, believes the Treasury has overlooked the way in which APD disadvantages regional travellers on a per-mile basis in comparison to those travelling short-haul to Europe and in particular against those travelling long-haul.
The basic domestic rate for APD is £13, so someone travelling on a one-way trip from Manchester to the Isle of Man (approx. 109 miles) pays £13.
If that person were to travel from Manchester to Auckland (approx. 11,311 miles) they would pay £71.
This represents a tax premium per mile of 19 times for the UK domestic business traveller over the long-haul traveller, according to Flybe.
The iniquity is compounded on a comparison of return trips.
Because APD is a UK departure tax, the domestic traveller ends up paying APD twice on return trips, but the international traveller pays it only once. So in the example given, the domestic traveller pays a tax premium per mile of 38 times.
Hammad said: “There is absolutely no logic in such an unfair discriminatory tax regime.
“If the government is serious about fostering economic development in UK regions, it should continue to support aviation rather than just spending billions subsidising rail projects such as HS2 and HS3 which will not be delivered for decades.
“The availability of affordable, high-quality air service connectivity is fundamental to the economic prosperity of the whole of the UK.”
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