Current rates of Air Passenger Duty (APD) result in long-haul passengers subsidising short-haul passengers by £222m a year, Virgin Atlantic claims. The airline pointed out that in the last 4 years APD hasrisen by 20% on short-haul flights, but on long-haul flights APD it has increased by at least 50%.
The current lowest rate of APD is £12 for passengers travelling in economy class on a short-haul flight. Rates are as high as £170 for passengers travelling long haul in business or first class.
The airline pointed out that had the tax gone up at the same rate on long haul and short haul flights, those taking shorter flights would be contributing at least £222m in APD more a year. Instead, the gap had been made up by 'disproportionately high' taxes on those flying long haul.
The airline also said that an analysis of passenger flights to European destinations easily accessible by train shows that the current APD rate on short-haul flights is not deterring people from making trips by air.
Virgin is calling for a new £20 rate of APD for short-haul journeys ‘to redress this disparity’. The airline said this could bring in nearly £650m to the Treasury, and allow the Government to reduce rates for travellers on long haul flights 'who are already paying more than their fair share.'
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