April 14th 2024

Conservatives Target frequent Flyer's

Conservatives target plane travel as the political tensions start to rise. So if you are a frequent flyer or own home a Spain or Portugal you are now in their sights! . Even worse is the condescending statement by the Shadow Chancellor that seems to indicate that a 'once a year' allocation for a trip abroad is to be made.
Proposals by the Conservative Party to cut CO2 emissions resulting from the increasing popularity of air travel have prompted a hostile response from airlines.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne said the plan was to target frequent fliers rather than families heading abroad for their annual holiday. A consultation document published on Sunday (11 March) proposes requiring airlines to pay fuel duty and/or VAT on domestic flights while a 'green air miles allowance' would penalise frequent flyers with a per-flight tax based on actual carbon emissions.

Writing in the document, Osborne said that "the case for acting now to reduce the future growth in greenhouse gas emissions from aviation is compelling. In particular, air passenger duty is not directly linked to carbon emissions and provides no incentives for airlines to use more fuel-efficient aircraft. I want to consult with the industry, with environmental groups, and with the public in order to create a sustainable regime of aviation taxation that has broad support."

The shadow chancellor told BBC1's Politics Show that the aim "is not to tax low income people out of their holidays".

Airlines have responded angrily to the plans with budget airline Flybe calling the proposals a "full-frontal attack on the ordinary traveller". The company said in a statement: "Conservative shadow chancellor George Osborne's proposals are a full-frontal attack on ordinary travellers, bad for the economy and a Luddite attempt to turn the clock back to a time when air travel was the preserve of the rich. Mr Osborne betrays his lack of knowledge about the UK regional economy by proposing London-centric taxes that will put at risk the economic regeneration of the UK regions."

Virgin Atlantic communications director Paul Charles said that taxing passengers more "would damage the UK economy as it would make UK airlines less competitive and shift jobs to other countries in Europe which will have more attractive airports for passengers to fly to and from".

British Airways said: "As with the current air passenger duty, we believe taxation is an extremely blunt instrument in terms of reducing carbon emissions."

Transport secretary Douglas Alexander said the plans were not properly thought through. "These proposals again reveal that today's Conservatives are more interested in making a headline than making a difference," he said.

"There is no evidence they have thought through these proposals. At the most basic level the taxation of aviation fuel is governed by international law and cannot be changed at a whim."

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Author: Transport Briefing

Article Date: 16th March 2007