Low-cost airline Flybe has attacked the Government over a stealth tax that it believes Gordon Brown will try to raise under the guise of combating climate change.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is likely to use the recent Stern review on climate change to justify the need for planned increased taxes on air travel in his pre-budget report today (Wednesday).
But Flybe’s general manager market development, Sara Randall Johnson, says the industry has a strong feeling that the Government will not be able to place a tax on aviation fuel because that must come as an EU-wide decision, and will be forced instead to increase Air Passenger Duty (APD). This £5 charge on each one-way journey from within the UK generates £1bn a year for the Exchequer, according to Randall Johnson.
Randall Johnson says: “Passengers will pay £5 APD as a hidden charge when they fly abroad but they won’t pay it on the return journey because it is a UK Government tax.
“Flybe passengers often pay a total of £10 because 80% of our business is serving domestic routes so both legs of the journey begin in the UK.”
Randall Johnson says it would be dishonest of the Government to attempt to dress any APD increase up as an environmental tax on air travellers. “Not a penny of APD is spent on the environment, it all goes to fill Government coffers. It is a stealth tax which only applies to air travel and no other form of domestic transport.”