Wednesday, 28 October 2009 12:00 AM
The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) had launched its final attack before changes to Air Passenger Duty (APD) come into effect on Sunday.
The organisation argues the introduction of increased levels of APD highlights the lack of transparency in the government’s environmental policy and misleadingly targets travellers under the guise of an eco-tax.
As a result this coming Sunday will be a “black day for travellers” argues the AITO, as costs are expected to rise significantly, especially on long haul travel.
Treasury minister Lord Myners1 has admitted APD is “primarily” designed to raise money while Transport Secretary Lord Adonis has suggested revenue raised by APD is not “ring-fenced” for environmental schemes.
Just to further complicate matters, APD is calculated against the distance between London and the capital city of the country concerned and not each individual city.
This brings about the farcical situation where a flight from London to Cairo (2,100 miles) qualifies for Band B (2001-4000 miles), the same as a flight from London to Los Angeles (5,400 miles), despite the fact that it is less than half the distance.
Derek Moore, AITO chairman, commented: “Using the environment as a pretence for raising revenue for the Treasury and targeting travellers is a very short-sighted policy.
“Many AITO travellers are eco-conscious and happy to play their part, through carbon offsetting and contributions to related projects, but they take issue at having to hand over additional funds in the form of a stealth tax when even government ministers admit they cannot guarantee that the money raised will go towards environmental schemes.
“At least when the Conservative government introduced APD in the early 1990s, it clearly admitted that it was a tax-collecting proposal.”
Take a look at travelbite.co.uk’s view here.
Follow us @travelbite