Sir Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic Airways, says the UK Government’s plans to increase taxes on air passengers are “out of control” and will hurt passengers, the aviation industry and developing regions such as the Caribbean and Africa.
The Air Passenger Duty (APD) paid by passengers leaving the UK is due to increase by up to 113 per cent by November 2010, with the next phased increase due in November this year. The APD tax on a flight from Heathrow to Dubai will go up from £40 to £60; the tax on a Premium Economy ticket from Gatwick to Barbados will go up from £80 to £150 and the tax on an Upper Class flight from Heathrow to Sydney will increase from £80 to £170. All Virgin Atlantic e-tickets issued from July 15 onwards will carry messages criticizing the APD tax increase by the UK Government and the airline has launched a new information page on its website, at www.virginatlantic.com/unjusttax.
“Air Passenger Duty is one of the most unjust taxes out there. The UK Government has been quietly increasing APD by huge amounts and claiming it is an environmental tax,” says Branson. “Yet there’s not a shred of evidence to suggest the £2 billion-plus currently raised is going towards environmental or sustainable projects. Now the UK Government wants to again hike the ridiculously high tax on your holiday or business trip ― in November this year and next ― by up to 113 per cent. I am urging passengers to write to their local Member of Parliament on why the planned increases are out of control.”
Virgin Atlantic supports proposals for a global carbon emissions trading scheme involving all airlines, being proposed at this December’s Copenhagen Summit. The proceeds from the scheme will go towards finding clean energy solutions.