Page last updated at 09:16 GMT, Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Airline warning over 'unfair' tax

Flybe Bombardier Q400
Flybe says its Newquay to Edinburgh route could be at risk

Internal UK flights from the South West have been hit with an unfair increase in air passenger duty, according to Exeter-based airline Flybe.

The tax went up from £20 to £22, on 1 November, for a domestic return flight.

Flybe says the higher tax is unfair because the South West is an isolated region like the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, which are exempt.

But the Treasury says flying is relatively under-taxed, with no duty paid on fuel or VAT on tickets.

We need to make air travel more expensive
Andrew Bell, Friends of the Earth

Flybe claimed the tax rise would put routes with "marginal" returns at risk because it would wipe out any profits.

The airline said routes, such as Newquay to Edinburgh and Exeter to Glasgow and north-east England, could be at risk.

But Andrew Bell, from Friends of the Earth in Exeter, said: "We need to make air travel more expensive because the contribution towards climate change is quite severe.

"If we increase the cost of flying out the region, more people are likely to stay and holiday in the region."

The Treasury said most passengers would pay just an extra £1 per flight, but that would go up again by the same amount next year.



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