Government urged to halve air travel tax

A new report is urging the government’s Autumn Statement to include a controversial air passenger duty tax cut of 50 per cent.

In a report, A flight plan for Brexit - Aboloshing Air Passenger Duty, the British Infrastructure Group (BIG) said air passenger duty (APD) should be cut by 50 per cent, before being scrapped altogether.

Britain currently has one of the highest air travel taxes in the world. On economy class flights of over 2,000 miles, passengers pay £73 in tax, which will rise to £75 next year. On long-haul business class journeys, flyers currently pay £146 in duty.

The tax is set to rise again in April to £150 for some long-haul flights, with the BIG report highlighting the examples of both Ireland and Scotland, with the former having scrapped APD completely and the latter planning to reduce APD by 50 per cent in 2018. APD currently generates approximately £3 billion for the government annually.

Opponents accused the aviation industry of wanting a ‘free ride’ on air taxes. The Environmental Audit Committee recently warned that the Treasury must consider the environmental impacts of its decisions.

The BIG, chaired by MP Grant Shapps, claims that the tax acts directly against a policy of extending UK business links to the ‘farthest reaches of the globe’, instead encouraging Prime Minister Theresa May to carry out her promise to ‘forge a bold, new, confident future for ourselves in the world’.