Azara Blog: IATA wants the UK government not to increase air passenger duty

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Date published: 2009/07/12

The BBC says:

The world's airline industry is urging the UK government to abandon a rise in air passenger duty, which would mean long-haul flight prices rising.

The International Air Transport Association warns the levy is damaging an industry already on its knees.

Britain is the only place to have such a tax and the Treasury now wants to base it on how far people fly.

Ministers say flying is relatively "undertaxed" and the changes "better reflect the environmental costs".

The duty is currently £10 for short-haul flights and £40 for longer journeys, costs which airlines pass on to passengers.

Under the government's plans, the tax will rise to £85 for Australia and £60 to the US by November next year.
...
But Darren Johnson, from the Green Party, said it was a good thing if people were discouraged from flying.

"We need to be increasing the air passenger duty," he said. "Aviation is simply not paying its way in terms of the environmental damage it causes."

UK car drivers already pay a carbon tax that is way, way over what it should be. Perhaps this is what the "ministers" mean when they say that flying is relatively "undertaxed". But the current level of tax for airlines is already over what most people calculate the carbon tax should be (although no doubt those figures might be low). So the government evidently thinks it needs to extort airline passengers the way it extorts car drivers (it's not called "ripoff Britain" for no reason). And of course, the passenger-based taxes are particularly stupid because the tax should instead be based on fuel consumed. So the current tax penalises energy-efficient airlines and rewards energy-inefficient airlines. But never let it be said that the government is fair or logical.

Of course the Green Party hates flying (there's nothing worse than the peasants being able to go places where only the middle class, like the Green Party members, used to be able to go). But if there is one transport sector that "is simply not paying its way in terms of the environmental damage it causes" then it is not aviation but the railways. So not only do train passengers not pay any carbon tax, they are hugely subsidised by the taxpayer, which means in effect they are paying a negative carbon tax. Funnily enough, the Green Party loves this particular subsidy. So evidently they believe that some carbon emissions are holier than others.

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