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Australia Presses UK on Airfare Tax

published  First Published: 25/01/2010
Article written by: News Editor: Nigel Brookson
The British government began increasing its air passenger duty in November 2009, saying the higher taxes would help compensate for the effect of air travel on the environment.
The higher taxes are based on how far a passenger is travelling, with those booked on long-haul flights to destinations including Australia having to pay substantially more than short-haul travellers.
Economy passengers travelling to Australia now have to pay an extra STG55 ($A98) on their ticket, while business and first class ticket holders fork out an additional STG110 ($A196).
Those taxes are due to become even steeper - STG85 ($A152) for economy passengers and STG170 ($A303) for business and first class - in November 2010.
Mr Crean urged Business Secretary Peter Mandelson to reconsider the tax increases, which have caused outrage throughout the global travel industry, during talks in London on Monday.
"We've indicated to the government that whilst this was originally said to be a duty for environmental purposes it's now accepted that it's just for revenue raising purposes," Mr Crean told reporters afterwards.
"We've said we understand government's need to raise revenue but they shouldn't do it in the discriminatory way that this tax applies.
"It hurts us particularly because people flying to Australia from here (The UK) pay by far the biggest premium."
Mr Crean said Lord Mandelson and his Conservative counterpart Kenneth Clarke, who also held talks with the Australian trade minister, had agreed to raise the matter with the British Treasury.


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