The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has criticised proposals by the Liberal Democrats to introduce a ‘per flight’ aviation tax.
The FTA believes such a levy misunderstands the important role that air freight plays in the movement of goods in and out the UK, and would unfairly penalise the aviation industry and the consumers, businesses and producers that rely on it.
“While we commend Mr Clegg’s desire to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint, we urge him to consider the positive aspects of air freight,” says Jo Tanner of the FTA. “Not only is it responsible for a quarter of the value of all goods moved in and out of the UK, but it also provides farmers in the developing world with an opportunity to sell their produce.”
According to the FTA, air freight services are a key ingredient in the UK economy, responsible for much of the coffee, flowers, fruit and vegetables that find their way into the UK. “Any move to reduce European markets for produce from developing countries would deal a heavy blow to their economies,” says Tanner.
The FTA suggests that a ‘per flight’ or ‘per plane’ aviation tax would simply put the UK at a competitive disadvantage to airports in continental Europe that do not impose a tax on air freight.