Airline chiefs unite against damaging passenger levy

Ireland and Britains biggest airlines called on the British government to scrap Air Passenger Duty (APD), saying its negative impact on the economy was outweighing any benefit from the revenue raised.

Passengers have to pay between 24 GBP (28 Euro) and 170 GBP (200 Euro) in APD, depending on the length of flight, far more than when the tax was introduced in 1994. Business and first-class passengers also have to pay more than those in economy.

In an open letter to Britain’s finance minister George Osborne, the chiefs executive of Easyjet, Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways owner IAG called for an independent report on the tax’s economic effects.

They said what is happening in Britain mirrors what occurred in the Netherlands in 2008/9 when a similar air tax was imposed. That levy was abandoned after a year, following a study which showed the harmful effects on the Dutch economy were nearly four times greater than the revenue it produced.

This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Friday, November 18, 2011

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