Britons pay up to 25 times more tax than the French, 30 times more than Ireland
In the wake of the controversial passenger air tax news recently, new tax coalition alliance Fair Tax on Flying is calling on the British government to take a leaf out of Ireland’s book – and abolish the tax on passengers on outbound flights.
In an open letter to to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, prior to the UK Budget on 23 march, twenty-five travel companies and organisations (including British Airways, Tui, Thomas Cook, Abta and BAA) called for an end to the increases in Air Passenger Duty (APD) which has rocketed a whopping 325 per cent over the last six years.
The new Irish coalition government has just pledged to abolish the tax altogether (which was reduced from €10 to €3 per passenger recently). Holland, Sweden, Denmark and Malta have all done away with air passenger taxes and with Ireland following suit it would leave the UK as one of just four remaining European countries to charge air passengers for flying. For a family of four flying on holiday the charges quickly add up, at up to £85 per person on long haul journeys.
The campaign for a "Fair Tax on Flying" follows the latest research by travel association Abta which shows that a British family of four pays up to 25 times more in tax on a long-haul flight (£340) than its French counterpart (£14) and 30 times more than its Irish equivalent (£11).
Revisions to the UK’s APD (Air Passenger Duty) are expected to be announced in this month’s budget on 23 March.
The Fair Tax on Flying campaign also pointed out that the UK government will raise £2.2 billion through APD this year and it looks set to keep on rising – to an estimated £3.6 billion by 2015. Other European countries have ditched APD-style taxes because of fears they could impact economic development.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said: “The Irish Government is just the latest to see that taxing air passengers is counter-productive with any revenue raised outweighed by the damage caused to the wider economy. The Fair Tax on Flying campaign urges the chancellor to take a lead from the Irish and not hike aviation tax even higher if he is sincere in his intention to help travel and tourism grow and flourish."
Amanda Wills, managing director of new alliance member Virgin Holidays, said: “Virgin Holidays is 100% behind the Fair Tax on Flying campaign. We believe a fairer flight tax system is critical for both the UK economy and overseas destinations which are reliant on the income generated by international tourism.
“We urge the chancellor to work with the travel and tourism industry on developing a system that encourages choice, allows us to remain competitive against other markets, promotes a sustainable contribution to the destinations to which we send our customers and which finally allows our sector to continue to contribute to the growth of the UK economy.”