Airlines call for Air Passenger Duty to be scrapped


Michael O'Leary of Ryanair and Willie Walsh of the International Airlines Group unite in opposing the tax

Four airlines from the UK and Irish Republic are calling for the UK government to scrap Air Passenger Duty.

The tax, which is applied to almost every ticket on a flight originating in the UK, has risen sharply since it was introduced in 1994.

When APD was introduced, passengers whose journey originated in the UK paid between £5 and £40 per ticket. They now have to pay from £24 to £170.

It is opposed by Easyjet, Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways.

The airlines say it penalises British holidaymakers and makes the UK a less attractive destination.

The amount of APD that passengers have to pay depends upon whether their flight is short or long-haul, with business and first class travellers having to pay more than those with an economy ticket.

A Treasury spokesman said that the government had frozen APD this year, and that, unlike many other countries, the UK did not levy VAT on flights.

Environmental campaigners opposed the airlines' move, saying APD helped combat global warming.

"Air Passenger Duty plays an important part in tackling aviation's significant impact on climate change," said Richard Dyer of Friends of the Earth. "Ministers must stand up to this unfair lobbying."

Revenue raising

BBC transport correspondent Richard Lister said: "The chancellor put this year's increases on hold, but a further rise of around 10% is expected next year.

Start Quote

We consulted on a range of reforms to APD, including simplifying the tax and making it fairer by extending APD to private jets”

End Quote Treasury spokesman

"The airlines say that as the tax was first introduced to combat greenhouse gas emissions it should be abolished with the introduction of the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme next year.

"The government is considering making changes to Air Passenger Duty, but has made clear that it regards the tax as an important way of raising revenue, and expects it to generate more than £2bn this year."

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary told the BBC that removing APD would not increase the airlines' profits.

"This has nothing to do with our profits. It is paid by families, paid by passengers going on holidays," he said.

"If it is scrapped, the money goes straight back into families' pockets."

Mr O'Leary also said that as a result of APD, 30 million fewer overseas visitors had come to the UK in the past five years.

He added that with UK passengers having to pay the new Emissions Trading Scheme tax from January, they will be "taxed on the double".

Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, the owner of British Airways, called on Chancellor George Osborne to set up an independent review of APD.

"This tax is hugely damaging and must be scrapped," he said.

"We challenge the chancellor to undertake an independent review, which will show that the net effect of this tax is damaging."

Consultation process

A Treasury spokesman said: "We consulted on a range of reforms to APD, including simplifying the tax and making it fairer by extending APD to private jets.

"We will say more on this in the coming weeks.

"It is also important to remember that the UK is not the only country with an passenger duty, and unlike many other countries the UK does not levy VAT on flights."

At the start of this month APD was reduced for direct long-haul flights from Northern Ireland, in response to competition from services in the Irish Republic, which has an Air Travel Tax of just three euros to any destination.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    keep the taxes! really cheap air fare is environmentally irresponsible anyway!

    I would love to go to Scotland for holiday (I live in the south of England so I would love to fly) but that way I have to pay the taxes twice!

    APD does not make any sense and should be scrapped!

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    I agree to cutting the APD so long as we cut the fuel duty subsidy and give all transport a level playing field

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

    The poor have been spoiling the world for the rich and famous for far too long. price them off the roads and price them from the air. All they do is breathe out carbon dioxide and have children. let them stay at home; they can always watch their favourite non-entity on "I am a has-been get me onto here"

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    Airline owners want less tax on flying = dog bites man.

    Fuel tax + VAT on flying = man bites dog.

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.


    Yes, but it's taxable travel. The other examples, Blackpool etc. are reachable by train.

    Think before posting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    @302. reddun

    Yes, and the best way to produce the fabled 'level playing field' is to eliminate the fuel duty and VAT on train and coach travel - not impose those and other taxes on air travel.

  • rate this

    Comment number 306.

    Maybe not regret, but your world has now become significantly smaller - although if any journey is valued only on its tax burden, you probably werent making teh most of your trips anyway.
    No driving, no flying, no TV - and somehow you equate that to, i guess, a higher state of enlightenment?

  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    'Seems like the government collect taxes and then throw almost half of it away'

    Yep, that's it.....been that way for donkeys years

    It's easy to waste money when it's not yours and some public sectors have been championing this theory for years with no fear of recourse or accountability for their actions

  • rate this

    Comment number 304.

    The taxation in UK must be the laughing stock of the world"

    You haven't been paying attention recently. The world sees the Greek and Italian taxation systems as "laughing stocks" mainly due to their inability to collect taxes efficiently. Whether you agree with the principle of APD or not, it is a simple and efficient tax to collect. As for VAT on fuel duty: this is true across the EU.

  • rate this

    Comment number 303.


    How exactly do you suggest getting a family of six to the Orkneys? Driving presumably, in a car that is equally as polluting (per person) than a large fuel-efficient aeroplane? Nice one, eco friend!

  • rate this

    Comment number 302.

    Some people do not seem to realise that it is possible to travel abroad by sea and rail. These may be more expensive because they have to pay fuel duty and VAT. What a weird world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 301.

    There comes a time when the tax levied on a given thing grows to the point that it drives people away. For me that happened with motoring 3 years ago & flying not long after. I've also reduced my general consumption to reduce my "Tax footprint", including getting rid of TV! Admittedly, life has become much more simple - but surprisingly I'm not really regretting any of my decisions.

  • Comment number 300.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    It seems many here are reluctant to remove another imposed tax and implore us all to stay in good old UK. With so many unemployed and underpaid, it is cheaper to take a family abroad than holiday in the UK. Plus you get better quality fruit/vegetables, better air and some decent, guaranteed sunshine. OR, is that small luxury reserved only for the wealthy?

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    The taxation in UK must be the laughing stock of the world, take the news of this week for example:
    Discussing fuel duty where we pay VAT on fuel duty = taxing a tax
    The scandalous rise in APD tax.
    Then bailing out a bank for 1.4 billion and selling it off for less than 800 million.
    Seems like the government collect taxes and then throw almost half of it away.

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    I say keep the tax, it's a nice little earner for the goverment and for those of us that don't fly it no doubt saves us some additional tax somewhere else. Who wants to flay away anyway? The global economy is screwed proving that capitalism in it's purest form doesn't work in just the same way as socialism doesn't work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 296.

    cheap flights for the jet set

  • rate this

    Comment number 295.


    I agree with you, but as one who always holidays in the UK, I really don't want the Easyjet/Ryanair chavs doing the same and spoiling my hols!

  • rate this

    Comment number 294.

    I believe that there is no VAT on aircraft fuel - so if the airlines want to ditch this tax, then please replace it by making the fuel in planes Vatable, which would bring in far higher revenue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 293.

    Scrap it? It should be increased to at least £1000 per person per take off. Nasty polluting aeroplanes. Get rid of them. People who holiday abroad are traitors, and should not be allowed back in. Same thing with Politicians who go to EU meetings by air.


Page 13 of 28


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