The debate around the rescue plan for Europe’s largest independent airline, Flybe and its tax liability will be of keen interest to supporters of sustainable growth.
The rescue includes the potential deferment of over £100m in air passenger duty. APD charges for short haul flights start at £13 for economy and £26 for business/first class.
The plan also includes a Treasury review of air passenger duty as part of a Budget process to ensure that regional connectivity is supported alongside the UK’s climate change commitments to meet net zero carbon targets by 2050.
Although the tax deferment was attacked by some environmental groups, Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps defended the decision.
“Air passenger duty is not designed as an environmental tax. I think that we can do far more by reviewing the way it works. I'll give you a simple example: there are now aircraft that are being designed and about to start flying which fly on electricity. They're going to do the island hops in Scotland.”
"Actually, we should be shaping our regional airports so that they become greener and they're able to fly using hybrid and zero carbon approaches like electric. That's the future and that's where we want to get to. And that's what this review will look into."
Shapps said his department would undertake an urgent review into how the UK can strengthen regional connectivity. He said he wants to look at all the options to make sure UK airports can continue to play an important role in driving economic growth, creating jobs and greening aviation, across the country.
We will watch and wait. But what we can all agree with is the push to zero carbon flying, and it is good to see innovation at the centre of this debate.
Read more about air passenger duty here.
Photo credit: Flybe