Boris Johnson Snubs Climate Activists And Saves UK Airline

  • Date: 14/01/20
  • The Guardian

The future of Flybe was secured on Tuesday night after ministers agreed a rescue deal with shareholders to keep Europe’s largest regional carrier flying.

The Treasury said it would review air passenger duty (APD), a tax that adds £26 per passenger to all Flybe domestic return flights, to “ensure regional connectivity is strengthened while meeting the UK’s climate change commitments to meet net zero by 2050”.

In addition, it is understood that the government is still in negotiations over a possible £100m loan to Flybe. Although Treasury sources denied reports that it had agreed deferral of a £106m outstanding APD bill, it is understood that HMRC could allow the airline a short-term extension to settle its debt. […]

While unions and the CBI had urged the government to help Flybe, any potential moves to ease APD were condemned by environmental groups. The MEP for South West England – a constituency that includes Flybe’s Exeter home – Molly Scott Cato of the Green party, said it was “absurd to suggest that we should provide a further boost to the aviation industry”. She highlighted that routes deemed socially necessary could be subsidised under EU rules – Flybe’s Newquay to London route is already funded with state aid.

Greenpeace UK’s chief scientist, Doug Parr, said: “The government cannot claim to be a global leader on tackling the climate emergency one day, then making the most carbon-intensive kind of travel cheaper the next. Cutting the cost of domestic flights while allowing train fares to rise is the exact opposite of what we need if we’re to cut climate-wrecking emissions from transport.”

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