Air tax rise could add £100 to family holiday

An increase in tax on air travel that takes effect on Monday has been lambasted by the airline and holiday industries.

Air passenger duty rises by up to £30 for economy tickets amid warnings it could add more than £100 to the average cost of a family holiday.

The rises were planned and announced by the Labour government before the general election but come into effect next week.

Willie Walsh, the British Airways chief executive, condemned the rises as damaging to the UK economy, just as the airline announced it was back in profit after two years of deep losses.

"It's hitting at business and it's hitting at people who want to do business in the UK," he said.

When the rises were announced they were described as a green tax, intended to make the aviation industry pay for some of the damage it is believed to cause to the environment, particularly by emitting greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

The Coalition Government has promised to review air passenger duty and the system of taxing the aviation industry which, unlike other forms of transport, avoids duty on fuel. A Treasury spokesman said: "The Coalition Government is currently exploring changes to the aviation tax system and is committed to public consultation on any major changes that may be introduced."

Air passenger duty is split into four bands and the cost rises with the distance travelled. Band D flights, of more than 6,000 miles, have the biggest increases with a 55 per cent rise to £85 for an economy ticket.