BA, Ryanair, EasyJet and Virgin Team Up to Demand End of Air Tax

Ryanair Holdings Plc (RYA), EasyJet Plc, Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. and British Airways-owner IAG called on Britain to scrap an aviation tax they say is hurting the U.K. economy to a degree that outweighs the revenue raised.

Britain’s Air Passenger Duty is discouraging tourists from visiting and raising the cost of travel for the people living in the country, the four carriers said in a statement today.

U.K. Chancellor George Osborne will present his autumn budget statement Nov. 29 and may announce an increase in the tax, which airlines estimate generates as much as 2 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) annually for the coalition government.

Discount and long-haul operators are putting aside their differences to fight the tax. EasyJet had previously lobbied for changing APD to a per-plane charge from a per-passenger one, favoring the fuel-efficiency of its young fleet, while Virgin had said its flights were subsidizing EasyJet’s operations.

Carriers currently pay APD on a per-passenger basis with the tariff rising in four bands the further a destination is from London. A business-class passenger flying within Western Europe pays 24 pounds, with the tax rising as high as 170 pounds for locations in Australia and South America.

U.K. carriers also say that APD will create double taxation as they’ll have to participate in the European Union’s emission-trading system from next year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sabine Pirone in London at spirone@bloomberg.net; Steve Rothwell in London at srothwell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net; Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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