Passengers flying from British airports are having to pay an increased aviation tax imposed by the government as an environmental measure. However, airlines and tour operators said they may challenge the controversial new tax in the courts. They said it was not legal as it had not been debated and voted on by the British parliament.
The airline’s trade body, the British Air Transport Association, called it “misguided and punitive” adding it would do nothing to improve the environment.” The air tax is an extra 15 euros for short haul economy flights and double that for first and business class. For long haul journeys it is 60 euros for economy passengers and 121 euros for those travelling in the front of the plane. The budget airlines are particularly incensed. Ryanair ran an advertising campaign attacking the British finance minister Gordon Brown as “Greedy Gordon” and calling on his to scrap the tax.
Even some environmentalists are not happy. Friends of the Earth said the tax does not challenge travellers’ behaviour or raise enough money to fund transport alternatives. It said that the UK government should be sending a signal to air travellers that there are better forms of travel such as high speed rail links.