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Jumbo Week for Aviation

news release

Media Briefing

Find out more about aviation in our media briefing: The Air Transport White Paper – Making aviation sustainable?

At 12:30 on Tuesday 16th December the aviation White Paper, setting out policy for the next 30 years, will be published, a day before the 100th Anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first powered flight.

The attached media briefing is intended to inform you of the important issues facing the aviation industry over the next thirty years:


  • Climate change emissions produced by regional air travel is forecast by the government to increase by a massive 310-375% by 2030, in contrast to the government’s long-term target of 60% reductions by 2050;
  • Aviation continues to get away with not paying a jumbo £9 billion of tax every year. If this subsidy were removed, models indicate that no new runways would be needed;
  • Airport and air travel growth will continue to significantly damage regional tourism employment (one of the largest job sectors), as more people fly away for foreign holidays and weekend breaks;
  • The recent trend in aviation is to reduce, not increase, jobs as the dominant low-cost business model squeezes out employment;
  • Cheap domestic flights encourage growth in the number of second homes, and price local people out of the housing market.

Graeme Sherriff, co-ordinator of Manchester Friends of the Earth says:

‘This week is a crucial time for the aviation industry and all those it affects. Looking back over the last 100 years we can see many achievements but also an environmental legacy that includes air pollution, climate change, noise and biodiversity loss. Aviation must now grow up and start to pay its environmental and social costs in full.’

Representatives of Manchester Friends of the Earth are available for comment.


Notes to Editors

[1] Manchester Friends of the Earth is a prominent pressure group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on their website: Manchester Friends of the Earth is part of a national network of local groups, affiliated to the national organisation (further information can be found at

[2] There is no tax on fuel, no VAT, and duty-free sales continue except for trips entirely within the EU.

£billion per year
5.7 Fuel tax @ 45.8p per litre (the same rate as applied to car fuel)
4.0 VAT
0.4 Duty free
-0.9 Deduct Airport Departure Tax (currently £5 or £10 per ticket)
9.2 Net tax subsidy

The DfT’s SPASM computer model is used to assess transport demand and was the basis for the Government’s airport expansion proposals announced last July. At the request of CPRE, AEF and Friends of the Earth, the DfT carried out new runs on SPASM to test different assumptions from those used by DfT officials. The new assumptions include that by the year 2030 aviation fuel will be taxed at the same rate as motor vehicle fuel (45.8p per litre), and that air travel will be subject to VAT. The new prediction is that the number of passengers using UK airports would rise from 180 million a year in 2000 to 315 million a year in 2030 (instead of the official forecast figure of 501 million passengers). On that basis there would be no need to build any new runways.

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