Airlines call for Air Passenger Duty to be scrapped
In a rare show of unity, British Airways, Easyjet, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic are together calling on the UK government to scrap Air Passenger Duty (APD).
The tax, which was introduced in 1994, is applied to almost every ticket on a flight originating in the UK, and has risen sharply from between £5 and £40 per ticket to between £24 and £170.
Discouraging air travelThe four airlines argue that the tax penalises British holidaymakers and discourages foreigners from visiting the UK for both business and travel. They have called on Chancellor George Osbourne to set up an independent review of APD.
The government however argues that it has frozen APD this year, and that unlike many other countries, the UK does not levy VAT on flights.
The amount passengers have to pay varies according to which class they travel in, and whether their flight is short or long-haul. Concerns over whether scrapping this tax would increase airline profits were dispelled by Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary.
He told the BBC that removing APD "has nothing to do with our profits. It is paid by families, paid by passengers going on holidays. If it is scrapped, the money goes straight back into families' pockets."
Damage done by APD
The airlines argue that since it was originally introduced to combat greenhouse gas emissions, it should be scrapped next year with the introduction of the EU's Emission Trading Scheme.