15-Apr-2010 9:35 AM

UK Government parties pledge to cancel plans to expand Heathrow, adjust APD

UK’s Conservative Party announced (14-Apr-2010) that if voted into government, its goal will be to make London Heathrow Airport "better, not bigger". The party plans to stop construction of the third runway and instead link Heathrow directly to its high-speed rail network. In addition, the party will block plans for second runways at London Stansted and London Gatwick airports and reform the country’s Air Passenger Duty to encourage a switch to fuller and cleaner planes. [more]

UK’s Liberal Democratic Party will also (14-Apr-2010) cancel plans for the third runway at Heathrow and any expansion of other airports in the South East, as part of plans to meet European air quality targets by 2012. The party will also replace the per-passenger APD with a per-plane duty (PPD), ensuring that air freight is taxed for the first time. It will also introduce an additional, higher rate of PPD on domestic flights if realistic alternative and less polluting travel is available. [more]

easyJet welcomed (13-Apr-2010) the Conservative Party’s plans to reform the APD. [more]

The Board of Airline Representatives in the UK (BAR UK) criticised (13-Apr-2010) the transport policies in the election manifestos of all three main UK political parties as failing to meet the country’s aviation needs. In response, the group outlined its five key requirements for aviation for the next UK Government:

  • To recognise that a third runway at London Heathrow Airport is a priority for the UK economy and that this expansion is not funded by the government;
  • To embrace the White Paper and Civil Aviation Bill "The Future of Air Transport", published in 2003 at immense cost, as the template for the industry for the next 30 years and to refrain from piecemeal tampering and short-term measures;
  • To reduce Air Passenger Duty (APD) with immediate effect and to completely abolish APD once the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) commences in 2012;
  • To acknowledge that aviation is a relatively low emitter, contributing just 2.5% of global carbon emissions, and assist an already proactive industry with research and technology incentives to reward further efficiency gains;
  • To bring forward planned improvements in European airspace management where the quickest and most significant reductions in carbon emissions can be achieved. [more]

easyJet: “We welcome the Conservatives’ promise to reform the UK’s daft air tax. A tax that forces families to subsidise private jets, cargo planes and 20 million foreign transfer passengers per year is way past its sell-by date. From an environmental perspective APD gives a perverse incentive – full planes pay the highest tax whilst empty ones pay no tax at all. We need to make air tax greener and fairer now. It should be reformed from a poll tax into a flight tax that taxes emissions, not families,” Andy Harrison, CEO. Source: easyJet, 14-Apr-2010.

BAR UK: “The airline industry feels let down by the manifestos of the main political parties in their lack of vision and commitment in addressing the air travel needs of the UK public, industry and the economy. The global competitiveness of the UK is at stake through isolated policies attempting to tax or restrict what is a global industry. Taxation alone can never deliver the benefits that the UK public and industry are demanding,” Mike Carrivick, CEO. Source: BAR UK, 13-Apr-2010.

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