Britain’s “Learjet tax” delayed

Britain’s airlines, which have been lobbying to have The Air Passenger Duty (APD) killed, are now upset that the tax will remain in place and will not yet be extended to private business aircraft. Specifically, AVweb and the Guardian have pointed out that British airlines like British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are accusing the government of favouring private jet travellers over commercial airline passengers by choosing to delay the so-called “Learjet tax” or “Learjet levy” until April 2013. Simon Buck, the chief executive of the British Air Transport Association (BATA), which also represents 10 airlines, has been quoted as saying this delay is "unfair" and that:

"It is a year’s grace for the wealthy man in the business jet, but for millions of people who cannot afford to fly by business jet, they will have to pay APD increases at twice the rate of inflation from April next year. How is that fair?"

Such rhetoric might be familiar with readers across the Atlantic where its regularly directed by politicians and the media at corporate jet owners and users – just because they are corporate jet owners or users.

However and according to BATA, Britain already imposes the highest taxes on flying in the world and more than 8.5 times the average of the rest of Europe. The Guardian has also pointed out that new Treasury forecasts project that APD revenue will rise from £2.2 billion last year to £2.6 billion this year and keep rising until it hits £3.8 billion in 2016/2017. In other words, there is no way the government will discontinue such a money making levy. Moreover, passengers will find out next week the latest addition costs to fly out of a British airport when the Treasury announces the new flight tax bands – which at the moment, range from £12 for a short-haul flight to £85 for an ultra-long haul flight.

Nevertheless and according to an aircraft charter group Air Partner, the cost per passenger of a shorthaul business jet flight would be nearly four times the cost on a commercial carrier. Hence and for now, it might still be more cost effective in many instances to fly via a business jet rather than commercial but that may soon change.

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