Airlines underwhelmed by new government’s runway, tax plans

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Car Rental News - 13/05/2010


Carriers not amused as new govt nixes third Heathrow runway and plans green taxes.

Britain’s newest government, a coalition between the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats, plans a major shakeup of air travel. Under new policy announced today, the third runway at Heathrow, for which the previous government fought so hard, will be replaced by a more ecologically-sound high-speed rail system linking Heathrow to other airports.

The new policy’s green objectives are extended further by plans for an overhaul of the existing Air Passenger Duty (APD) system that will see the APD charged on a per-plane basis, rather than per-passenger. The change is intended to penalize carriers for running partially-filled, inefficient flights.

Airlines reacted to the announcement with a mixture of resignation and displeasure. British Airways has pushed very hard for a third runway at Heathrow. BA insists the plan would have brought significant economic benefits for Britain.

Small carriers, who tend to run fuller flights, are likely to benefit from the revamped APD system but they joined bigger carriers in criticizing the APD scheme. BA says under the upcoming EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the environmental impact of airlines will be more effectively addressed. Introducing further punitive taxation would only damage UK aviation by giving important transit business to European travel hubs.

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