I was working with others on a frequent flying levy before the project got side tracked by this crisis. We need one, very badly.

It’s called Air Passenger Duty.

18 thoughts on “We have one”

  1. Much of the family live in South Africa […]

    So perhaps it would be fairer to have a proper rationing system. For example, one return flight in Europe and one return flight outside Europe per person per year.

    Again, taxation for thee but not for me.

  2. Before COVID I got chatting to an Extinction Rebellion leafleteer and at some point she started saying that air travellers should be forced to offset the carbon cost of flights. I said I thought that was what APD was for. She’d never heard of it.

  3. Somewhat related to the question of whether we should have a flat rate of income tax at all income levels, or whether it’s better to have a personal allowance.

    Logically if air travel’s deemed harmful (hold fire about whether it should be, the debate here is over how it should be treated if it be so deemed), then its harms should be taxed in order to align incentives with net benefits (inclusive of those otherwise externalised harms such as pollution and noise), and that’s true regardless of whether it’s your first flight of the year or your twentieth. The argument of giving a flying allowance seems to be along the lines of “a certain amount of flying is now such a natural part of our lifestyles it’s become a sort of right or expectation”. Yet it seems to me someone who only flies once or twice a year should still be disincentivised from doing so in proportion to the harm that flight is causing, and flying so infrequently one imagines they can save up enough money to pay the APD if the flight is so important to them…

  4. @Steven Crook

    I don’t think the proponents of APD would normally claim that it offsets the carbon impact of flying. What in principle it ought to do (doesn’t quite do this in practice) is internalise the harms of flying (carbon impact, other pollutants, noise etc) so that they are no longer an externality (“someone else’s problem”) and become a disincentive taken into account during the decision to fly or not.

    Offsetting would be different, in that payment would be used in some sort of scheme to reduce carbon emissions elsewhere in order to “make up for” the effect of flying. APD is just a source of funding for the Exchequer, as far as I am aware.

  5. For example, one return flight in Europe and one return flight outside Europe per person per year.

    Oh great, so I only get to visit my elderly parents once a year. What an absolute cuntish idea.

  6. I was working with others on a frequent flying levy…

    I was engaged on another of my many compensatory masturbatory fantasies….

  7. Bloke in North Dorset


    The government spends enough of our money on useless green causes for the APD to be part of that, with room to spare.

  8. Ritchie wanted a progressive consumption tax. The difficulties with this are horrible – Aidan O’Brien would be paying normal price in January escalating to thirty times the price to fly in December as the once a year international racegoer.
    Pay what you weigh, which I liked the idea of, has been trialled and failed.
    APD is badly designed though, and should be scrapped entirely and replaced with that Nordhaus tax that gets a lot of stick on here.

  9. Dennis the Essential

    The airline and related industries are crushed by a pandemic, tens of thousands of jobs lost, and all that cunt can think about is making things worse.

  10. Air Canada says it doesn’t expect normal operations until Christmas, this ‘new’ normal is going to cause a lot of pain.
    Saw a bus go past with full sign on, due to the social distancing rules closing seats and no one standing it seems the capacity of a bus is now around 10 people. Even allowing for the extra number of buses I’d wonder how many runs are economical at that level of ridership.

  11. Henry, twice a year. That flight inside Europe would conveniently link to another flight outside Europe.

    Or a train trip to Paris followed by a flight.

    Unless an entire organisation is going to be set up to ensure the scheme is international.

  12. @chester interesting, assuming you could only impose this for UK bookings could open the market to all sort of odd booking schemes and tickets sales being routed through various countries or even sales of rights through booking and transfers.
    The odds are any scheme he came up with had loopholes galore, that’s why it’s best to charge the plane at the airport and let the operator spread it over the ticket price

  13. @Kevin B

    Interesting, it’s 9/11 Mk2 – at least airlines had a game plan this time

    What are the large round things on ground? Sewage plants?

    @Chester Draws

    Peeps already doing that to avoid UK’s APD – UK Gov shooting foot and economy yet again

  14. So perhaps it would be fairer to have a proper rationing system. For example, one return flight in Europe and one return flight outside Europe per person per year.

    The problem here is that evasion is going to be pretty easy. If flying to Australia or wherever, book a flight from UK to Switzerland (or whatever other country ignores this bullshit) and then book an onward flight from there.

    Even if this was implemented across the EU there would be exceptions for each country, like the French “Région d’outre-mer” territories which are technically part of France, so just get a one-way flight to “St Pierre and Miquelon” via New York’s JFK, skip the last leg (or even have a virtual airline which schedules flights from New York JFK to “St Pierre and Miquelon” and then always conveniently cancels at the last minute less a non-refundable admin fee of $20), et voilà one “European” trip and you’ve ended up in JFK.

    The problem with all of this is that the idiots trying to control our lives never think about behavioural responses from people just trying to be free. Plus the fact that Timmy always thinks his flights should be excluded because of some virtue signalling bullshit.

    As for Air Passenger Duty, like the insurance levy, it is just taxation, nothing more.

  15. Pcar: “What are the large round things on ground? Sewage plants?”

    irrigation. Growing stuff in the desert at vast expense.

  16. @MBE

    APD introduced by Clarke to fulfil your/green issues

    Brown kept increasing and changed law to say APD was primarily Revenue Raising, fellow socialist Osborne & Hammond continued increasing.

    Rather amusing if they now bail out airlines to ensure APD revenue keeps coming in

    @djc – Thanks

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