Flying from the UK will become more expensive from February 1st 2007. The Treasury will be doubling the rate of Air Passenger Duty (APD) as follows…
Economy Class £10 (was £5)
Business Class £20 (was £10)
Economy Class £40 (was £20)
Premium Economy/Business/First Class £80 (was £40)
So passengers flying long haul premium economy will be hit hard in the wallet with an £80 ($150) duty charge.
The extra revenue raised will be going to the general budget and not to any specific environmental projects. Green groups welcome the charge as a way of reducing passenger numbers. Not surprisingly, the airline industry remains strictly opposed to any increases in aviation taxation. Low cost carrier Ryanair states on its website:
“Taxing air transport will not have any effect whatsoever on reducing greenhouse gas emissions but will have substantial adverse effects on European economic growth.”
Virgin Atlantic is this month experimenting with towing its 747-400 aircraft to the runway area to reduce costly fuel consumption whilst taxiing. The trials will take place at London Gatwick and Heathrow with co-operation from the BAA and air traffic control. If successful they hope to carry further testing in the USA next year.
A small minority of travellers choose to donate money to charities such as World Land Trust in order to offset their carbon emissions from flying. You can input your route details on their site and it calculates the average amount of carbon emission involved and how much you should donate to offset the CO2. The money is then invested in environmental projects worldwide such as reforestation programs.
For example, a return flight from London Heathrow to Seattle would emit 1.69 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere which corresponds to a donation of £12.59.
However with the sharp increase in APD, the uptake for voluntary carbon offset is likely to stay low unless the airlines themselves get more involved.
Photo Credit: Frank Arman