Increases in Air Passenger Duty
I see from your article "How to turn the air tax rise to your advantage" that those hiring an executive jet can still avoid paying Air Passenger Duty (APD). This only helps to encourage those who can either afford to pay, or persuade someone else to pay, to consider using the very environmentally damaging private aircraft to travel.
I live in Farnborough, Hampshire, and there are strong concerns among the community about the environmental impact of such travel, and especially on the enjoyment of our local amenities at weekends, when many residents are at home or about the area.
Surely, without going into the merits or otherwise of APD, it should apply to anyone leaving the UK by air?
It seems as though "executive" travellers are being given a benefit that ordinary travellers on scheduled airlines are unable to avail themselves of.
Aviation says it pays for its emissions through the European Union Emissions Trading System. That is beginning to happen but that doesn't cover noise or community destruction. And it misses the point: Air Passenger Duty is not an environmental tax. It was introduced by Kenneth Clark in the early 1990s to help make up the shortfall in aviation's contribution to general taxation. That is still its purpose.
This just proves that the "green lobby" is a cash cow for the Government.
Thank you for the helpful article on the rise in APD. I have booked to travel on Malaysia Airlines to Kuching for the Christmas/New Year festivities. The fare is already £400 more than it was for the same period last year. Will I be charged yet more for the revised APD? In the various articles I've read on the subject I've seen no reference to already booked tickets.
All tickets issued for travel from 1 November onwards include the new higher levels of tax – Simon Calder
48 Hours in Valletta
The superficial aspects of the islands, not just Malta itself, are very touristy, but once you get off the beaten track and meet some Maltese people, it does seem a fascinating place.
Wildlife tourism to Sri Lanka
Sadly, the island's wildlife is under enormous pressure. On a visit to Yala National Park, I was offered several cheap excursions, which would have avoided paying the entrance fee. Judging by the number of vehicles rumbling around the park, compared with those who queued at the official entrance at opening time, many tourists took the cheap option.
This, of course, deprives the park authorities of much needed revenue and contributes to a degradation of park resources. Endemic corruption is a huge issue, too. The salaries of the park's employees are extremely poor. A few dollars in return for looking the other way is a tempting offer for any park ranger.
What an entertaining, informative and well-written article by Dominic Lawson. Send him off to some more places please!
New round-the-world option
There's an intriguing new codeshare flight between Nairobi and Bangkok on Kenya Airways and Qantas that now provides Nairobi as a possible stopover on the "Discoverer RTWs". It means you can at last combine parts of South America, plus East Africa and Asia, with Australasia at a decent rate.
Stuart Lodge, roundtheworldflights.com