06/12/2011 09:27 GMT

Government Consultation On Air Passenger Duty 'A Sham And A Waste Of Money', Say Airline Chiefs

Government consultation on the air passenger duty (APD) airport departure tax was "a sham and a waste of taxpayers' money", airline chiefs have said.

In last week's autumn statement Chancellor George Osborne confirmed an 8% rise in APD from next April.

The Treasury has released its response following consultation on APD, which is vehemently opposed by airlines.

Despite pleas to reduce, scrap or amend APD, the Treasury said the system would carry on as it is.

In a statement, the bosses of easyJet, Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways parent company IAG, said: "The Government's consultation on APD has been a sham and a waste of taxpayers' money.

"We are left with a tax that has already cost 25,000 jobs, is doing increasing damage to the prospects for economic recovery, and sends a message to the world that Britain is a difficult and expensive place to do business."

They went on: "We are united in calling for the Government to commission an independent study of APD's overall economic value and impact. We have no doubt this would confirm that APD's negative effect on UK GDP (gross domestic product) significantly outweighs its revenue benefit for the Treasury. We call for this tax on passengers to be axed."

Under the new rates from April 2012, passengers in economy class flying no further than 2,000 miles from the UK will see their APD rise from £12 to £13.

In the next band up - covering flights from 2,001 to 4,000 miles - economy passenger APD will rise from £60 to £65, while those flying economy on trips between 4,001 and 6,000 miles will see their tax rise from £75 to £81.

APD for economy passengers on flights of more than 6,000 miles (such as trips to Australia) will find their APD rising from £85 to £92 in April 2012. APD for passengers in business class and first class will range from £26 on the shortest trips to as much as £184 on the longest ones from April.