Statement from ABTA:
Seeing England defend or regain the Ashes in 2011 will cost the Barmy Army a lot more if the British Government gets its way and drastically raises taxes on flying. The UK is the only country that taxes air passengers and is set to crank up charges in November 2009 and again in 2010 which could add a whopping £170 onto the cost of a flight down under.
Currently if you fly economy to the Antipodes you pay the Government £40 for the privilege. From 1 November this goes up to £55 and in 2010 to £85, the flying poll tax being called Air Passenger Duty [APD]. Those who have paid for a little extra legroom in premium economy will pay double these amounts. Recently the Dutch Government ditched a similar tax on the grounds that the damage it caused their economy vastly outweighed the money going into Government coffers.
The British Government is now backtracking on claims that APD is a green tax as already the £2 billion pounds raised each year is much greater than the cost of environmental damage caused by flying. UK airlines will be voluntarily joining the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme in 2012 a much fairer and more efficient way of addressing environmental concerns.
Mark Tanzer ABTA CEO said “We’re calling on this Government to see sense and cancel these rises in APD. Not only will supporting our sportsmen and women abroad become much more expensive, but immense damage will be caused to the British tourist industry and to some of the least well off nations on the planet who are heavily reliant on tourist revenue”.
The Government estimates that APD will discourage up to 1.4 million people from flying to and from the UK.