About

Who

We are a group of fellow travellers who care about fairness, nature and leaving behind a world that future generations can thrive in. If you love to travel and care about these things too, why not join us?

Some of us signed an open letter when the campaign launched. You can see that here.

The New Economics Foundation have written about their key role in the project here.

The research

We've done our homework for this.

For the wonks among us, this is where you can download the background research looking at the effects on air passenger demand and tax revenue of a Frequent Flyer Levy. We have also developed an illustrative policy proposal on the practicalities of implementation.

For everyone else, read on for some more - often surprising - background facts about flying, tax and climate change that make it clear why this is so important.

Tax justice

At a time when vital services and the things that make a good society are being cut, there’s industrial tax avoidance on an epic scale going on in the skies above us.

  • Air travel has been getting a free ride on tax for 70 years.

  • There is no tax on jet fuel - the only fossil fuel that is banned from being taxed by international treaty.

  • Plane tickets are zero-rated for VAT, alongside wheelchairs and baby clothes.

  • The annual value of this tax subsidy to air travel is now estimated to be around £11.4bn.1

  • To put that in context, that’s roughly enough to reverse the cuts to legal aid, disability benefits and buses, scrap tuition fees, employ 5,000 more nurses and build ten new hospitals every year.2

  • The more often someone flies, the more benefit they get from these tax breaks.

Environmental justice

We all know flying is really harmful for the environment - and we all know that the natural world is in big trouble right now and needs our help. But so far, almost nothing is being done about the damage caused by flying.

A first class problem

Family holidays aren’t the problem here and nor - surprisingly - are international business flights. Instead, the rich are being subsidised to destroy nature for fun as they take city-breaks every other weekend and commute to second homes and tax havens by plane.

  • Most flights are taken by the richer sections of society - 74% of leisure travel is by members of ABC1 social classes.3

  • Over half of the British population don’t fly at all in any given year,4 and only 15% of us take three or more flights.5

  • But that 15% - the frequent flyers - take over 70% of all our flights.6

    15% of people - the frequent flyers - take over 70% of all our flights

  • Ownership of a second home abroad and household income of over £115k are the strongest predictors of frequent flyer status.7

  • The areas of Britain with the most frequent flyers are City of London & Westminster; Kensington & Chelsea; and Surrey.8

  • In aggregate, the most popular destinations from these areas are known tax havens!9

  • These aren't business flights. The Department for Transport says business travel by the UK public is in long term “general decline” and now makes up just 12% of our plane trips abroad,10 while demand for leisure flights surged by 185% between 1990 and 2007.11

I have questions

For anyone who still has questions, and doesn't want to read pages and pages of technical reports, we have started an FAQ page.

  1. Aviation Environment Federation analysis based on April 2014 fuel duty rates and comparative total fuel consumption for road transport and UK civil aviation in 2014

  2. Back of an envelope calculations, but based on real world figures for cuts during last Parliament.

  3. Passenger Survey Report, 2013, CAA, October 2014. Derived from Tables 14 & 15

  4. 57% in 2012, to be precise. National Travel Survey 2013, DfT, Table NTS0316

  5. Table ATT0601, Public experience of and attitudes towards air travel, DfT Statistical release, July 2014

  6. Own analysis of Table ATT0601, Public experience of and attitudes towards air travel, DfT Statistical release, July 2014

  7. Air Transport Statistics, House of Commons Library Standard Note SN0370, p.9

  8. The International Passenger Survey and its uses - 2 Page Brief, Sean Geeling, Tyndall Centre 2012

  9. The International Passenger Survey and its uses - 2 Page Brief, Sean Geeling, Tyndall Centre 2012

  10. ONS Commentary: UK residents visits abroad, Travel Trends 2013, Office of National Statistics, Fig.15

  11. Meeting the UK aviation target – options for reducing emissions to 2050, Committee on Climate Change, December 2009