Air Transport Association Comments On UK Flight Tax <


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Air Transport Association Comments On UK Flight Tax

By Daniel Baxter

May 16, 2010 - The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, issued the following statement in response to media reports that the U.K. will pursue another unjustified flight tax.

"Once again, airlines, their customers and the communities that they serve are at the mercy of political forces beyond their control. We can only hope that facts rather than misguided impulses gain the upper hand in the debate about the proposed per-aircraft fee. 

"Further burdening air transportation with another tax puts the well-being of our customers at risk. That is crystal clear. The simple reality is that this is not a "green" proposal, it is a plan to financially penalize airlines and thereby force them to cut back air services that passengers and shippers want. 


"Contrary to what some have said in support of the per-aircraft fee, airlines do not wastefully schedule their flights. The economics of this industry do not permit that. Stubbornly high fuel prices, inefficient air traffic control systems and dismal financial results mean that airlines have strong incentives to schedule their flights as efficiently as possible and reduce the consumption of jet fuel. 

“We respond to those incentives every day. The result is an unrelenting focus on efficiency that has produced an extraordinary environmental record, which dates back decades. That commitment continues today as evidenced, for example, by our ongoing involvement in the development of alternative jet fuels. What the airline industry needs is government policies that encourage more investments that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, not punitive taxes that stifle investment in technology and upgrades. 

"Finally, as we have repeatedly said with respect to a per-aircraft fee, international treaties that the United Kingdom is party to unquestionably prohibit the application of any such fee to international flights.

"We are hopeful that the remarkable environmental record of the airline industry, our long-demonstrated commitment to working to improve that record, and the needs of passengers and shippers will persuade those who advocate imposition of the per-aircraft fee to abandon their efforts."

Annually, commercial aviation helps drive more than $1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and nearly 11 million U.S. jobs. On a daily basis, U.S. airlines operate approximately 25,000 flights in 80 countries, using more than 6,000 aircraft to carry an average of two million passengers and 30,000 tons of cargo. ATA airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic.
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