Instead of expanding airports, why not introduce a ‘frequent flyer tax’?

airport expansion heathrowThe demand for ever more air travel and new runways comes from a small minority of frequent flyers, writes Keith Taylor MEP in The Ecologist – the 15% who take 70% of flights. So we can reduce that demand with a frequent flyer tax – while making it cheaper for ordinary families to enjoy an annual holiday abroad.

Key Points
  • The Green Party has just released a report – ‘Airport Expansion Doesn’t Make Climate Sense‘ – which takes a step back and asks, not whether growing Heathrow or Gatwick would provide the best outcome for our society and our planet, but whether airports can be expanded at all.
  • The UK government’s Climate Change Committee says for the country to meet its climate targets depends on cutting aviation emissions to 2005 levels by 2050. Yet flights are projected to grow by 60% over that same period.
  • An estimated 15% of the UK population takes about 70% of the flights. More than half of the people living in Britain took no flights abroad in 2013.
Travindy analysis
  • Only the Green Party dare challenge the mantra of relentless growth. Investing the money in improving public transport can make holidays in UK seem more attractive. Improving rail links to Europe can have the same impact for those wanting to go on European holidays. Few Londoners would fly to Paris now – the train is seen as part of the experience.
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith is the editor and co-founder of Travindy. He is a writer and communications consultant working for a more responsible and sustainable tourism industry. He is the author of two books, writes a fortnightly blog on responsible tourism for World Travel Market, and provides consultancy to a wide range of companies and organisations, ranging from National Parks to individual hotels and tour operators.

Related Articles

- Sustainable Tourism Crash Course -spot_img

Useful resources