IATA blasts Britain for cash grab

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is blasting Britain’s Treasury for a cash grab that will make travelling to the United Kingdom from Africa and elsewhere more expensive.
IATA’s Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani says an increase in the Air Passenger Duty announced yesterday is a “thinly disguised … environmental measure” that will not see a penny spent on nature. 
“I ask a question that I have asked many times before. How many trees will the Treasury plant with the cash? And where is the commitment to end APD when aviation joins the European Emissions Trading scheme in 2012?
“We cannot accept tax upon tax in place of a sound environmental policy,” Bisignani says. 

The combative IATA boss says Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) Alistair Darling “wisely abandoned plans” to introduce a per plane Aviation Duty “on the grounds that this is no time for introducing greater instability in the airline industry—a catalyst for economic growth.

“Unfortunately the wisdom stopped there. Adding millions of Pounds to the cost of travel from the UK will not help the Chancellor set the UK economy back on a growth path. We have the right diagnosis but the wrong prescription,” fumed Bisignani.
“This is another cash grab by the Treasury… The UK Government already admits that the current GBP2 billion take from APD more than covers the cost of aviation`s climate change impact.
“Airlines take their environmental responsibility seriously. In this year alone, IATA-led efficiency measures have saved over 14 million tonnes of CO2. How much CO2 will the increased APD save? The blunt instrument of taxation does nothing to improve environmental performance,” said Bisignani.

None of the APD revenue is earmarked for environmental initiatives, he adds.  

IATA also criticised the UK Government`s proposal for creating commercial distortions. “The restructured APD does almost everything wrong. It is a disproportionate burden for trips over 2,000 miles. It disadvantages UK carriers compared to their rivals.
“The highest travel taxes in the world reduce the UK`s competitiveness for businesses that depend on global connectivity. Increases in economy fares are a step backwards to the days when world travel was only accessible to the wealthy. The environment won`t see even a penny of the cash collected. And, the proposal puts the UK`s 200 000 aviation jobs at greater risk. The only one smiling is the Chancellor as the Treasury counts its billions,” said Bisignani.