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Richard Branson urges passengers to write to their local MPs

Richard Branson says the UK government’s tax increases on aviation are out of control

Sir Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic, warned that the UK Government’s plans to increase taxes on air passengers are out of control and will hurt passengers, the aviation industry and developing regions such as the Caribbean and Africa.

The Air Passenger Duty (APD) paid by passengers leaving the UK is due to increase by up to 113% by November 2010, with the next phased increase due in November this year. It means, for example, that the APD tax on a flight from Heathrow to Dubai will go up from £40 to £60; the tax on a Premium Economy ticket from Gatwick to Barbados will go up from £80 to £150 and the tax on an Upper Class flight from Heathrow to Sydney will rise from £80 to £170.

Virgin Atlantic today announced that all of its e-tickets issued from today onwards would be carrying messages criticising the unjust tax increase by the UK Government, and asking passengers to visit a new information website so they can protest to their local MP about the increases. 

Sir Richard Branson, commented: “Air Passenger Duty is one of the most unjust taxes out there. The UK Government has been quietly increasing APD by huge amounts and claiming it is an environmental tax. Yet, there’s not a shred of evidence to suggest the £2billion+ currently raised is going towards environmental or sustainable projects.

“Now the UK Government wants to again hike the ridiculously high tax on your holiday or business trip – in November this year and next – by up to 113%. I am urging passengers to write to their local MP on why the planned increases are out of control.

“The increases will hurt passengers, the airline industry and developing regions such as the Caribbean and Africa which rely on the airline industry to power their economies, and enable family and friends based in the UK to visit loved ones.”

Virgin Atlantic supports proposals for a global carbon emissions trading scheme involving all airlines, being proposed at this December’s Copenhagen Summit. The proceeds from the scheme will go towards finding clean energy solutions.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.