NEWS1 June 2011

Virgin Atlantic to poll passengers on aviation tax

Government News UK

UK— Virgin Atlantic is to survey passengers as part of its response to government proposals on changing rates of aviation tax – which it vigorously opposes.

The airline will gather passengers’ opinions using questionnaires on postcards handed out as they board planes over the course of a week, starting Friday.

The postcards ask passengers whether they think they are paying the right amount of tax, whether they think passengers flying from London and the South East should pay more than those flying from regional airports, and whether passengers flying in ‘Premium Economy’ should pay the same rate as economy passengers, the same rate as first class passengers, or somewhere in between.

Virgin, like other airlines, has been outspoken in its opposition to the tax, which was introduced by the Conservative government in 1994 and increased significantly under Labour. Chairman Richard Branson calling it “one of the most unjust taxes out there” and said in 2009 that there was “not a shred of evidence” that the then government had invested funds raised from the tax in environmental projects, as it claimed.

The Treasury is currently holding a consultation to gather views from the air travel industry about possible changes, and Virgin said it wanted its submission “to speak for the thousands of passengers who travel with us every day”.

The consultation will look at what rates should be applied to different categories of passengers, and whether duty should be extended to cover air freight and passengers transferring at UK airports.

Virgin Atlantic’s chief commercial officer Julie Southern said: “This is a great chance for our customers to make their voices heard in a quick and simple way, rather than via the Treasury’s inaccessible 49-page online consultation document.”


1 Comment

11 years ago

I think this article should have made it clear they Research considers this an abuse of the word survey. It is a lobbying exercise. There is nothing wrong in Virgin constructing a process that will supply it with material it can use, that is there job. Out job, the MRS's job, Research's job is to point out that the evidence gathered is partial and should not be confused with research.

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