The bosses of Ryanair, easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways parent International Airlines Group, have once again come together to put pressure on the government to abolish Air Passenger Duty. The demand is being made ahead of the introduction of the European emissions trading scheme which will begin on 1 January.
In a joint statement IAG’s Willie Walsh, Carolyn McCall from easyJet, Michael O’Leary from Ryanair, and Virgin Atlantic CEO Steve Ridgway explain that APD is no longer necessary as ETS will make European airlines carbon neutral. APD was originally introduced as a way of getting UK airlines to offset the amount of CO2 they were producing.
The statement points out that the £2.5 billion per year raised by APD is going into the government’s coffers rather than towards helping the environment. Ministers have said they would like to see the revenue created by APD increase to £3.6 billion by the year 2016.
The airline chiefs also point out that by the end of the decade, UK carriers will be paying 400 million euros annually under ETS. The statement also says that airlines are already doing their bit to reduce the environmental impact of aircraft and that APD actually hampers those efforts.
When ETS is introduced it will apply to all carriers flying in and out of European airports. A number of foreign governments have said that the scheme is contrary to international law and are threatening retaliation. Any airline refusing to conform will be heavily fined and could be banned from European countries.