Long-haul carriers have criticised the Chancellor’s decision to increase air passenger duty (APD) rates for flights longer than 5,500 miles.
Luis Gallego, chief executive at British Airways’ parent company IAG, said the move “will penalise Global Britain” at a time when the country should be more competitive on the global stage.
“We need to get Britain back on its feet by supporting entrepreneurs trying to generate new business across the world, restoring connectivity and enabling aviation to support UK´s trading economy, growth and jobs,” Gallego said.
A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson called the levy “fundamentally flawed”, adding that “the UK Government has missed a vital opportunity”, especially during a time when airlines are still recovering from the pandemic.
“It will fail to reward increased efficiency or reduced carbon emissions,” they said. “Passengers will pay the same rate of APD whether flying with modern, fuel efficient airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, or those with a fleet of older, less efficient aircraft.”
To justify his decision to increase per passenger taxes to £91, Sunak explained today that those subjected to the levy will be a minority of all UK travellers.
“Less than 5 per cent of passengers will pay more, but those who fly the furthest will pay more,” he said today during the Budget speech.
The decision comes at the same time the government decided to lower APD for domestic flights to benefit domestic travellers and regional hubs. Easyjet’s chief executive welcomed the news, claiming it will help better reflect how carbon emissions are produced and by whom.
“Easyjet continues to offset all its emissions from the fuel used, and we urge the Government to use the funds raised by APD to support investment in the development of zero emission technologies,” Lundgren commented.
Ryanair argued that the government, by delaying the reduction in APD to 2023, missed a great opportunity to kickstart tourism.
“Unfortunately, this delay will only damage the airline industry’s ability to rebuild connectivity, jobs and tourism,” said a spokesperson. “Ryanair calls on the UK Government to fully abolish APD immediately for all travel, which would give tourism a much-needed boost for this winter and more particularly, next summer.”