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Proposal: Put Frequent Fliers in a Higher Tax Bracket

Proposal: Put Frequent Fliers in a Higher Tax Bracket
Jackie Reddy

According to information released by England’s Department for Transport (DfT), just 1% of the nation’s residents are accountable for almost a fifth of overseas flights. These stats were released as support for a “frequent flyer levy” grows in some quarters to help combat carbon emissions.

A research survey from England’s Department for Transport (DfT) has revealed that a mere 1% of the nation’s residents are accountable for almost a fifth of overseas flights, The Guardian reports.

These statistics were released as part of a survey from the DfT, which also reveals that the top 10% of frequent air travelers were also accountable for over half of all the international flights taken in 2018. On the flip side, these figures also reveal that 48% of the population of England didn’t fly overseas at all.

According to the outlet, the figures come from a 2018 National Transport Survey that included responses from 15,000 residents in England.

As the outlet observes, these statistics have helped to reinforce support for a so-called “frequent flyer levy”, a piece of legislation that would see frequent air passengers face incrementally higher taxes per flight taken.

The findings come as the United Kingdom considers tough measures in order to reduce its carbon emissions. This drive is being led by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which is serving as an advising body to the UK government on the subject.

While various action groups and bodies have voiced their support for this kind of levy, it’s not exactly clear what method the country will use to cut its emissions.

Offering their comments to the outlet, a DfT spokesperson said, “Tackling climate change is one of the most urgent and pressing challenges that we face. Which is why this government has set a bold 2050 net-zero target for the UK and a greener aviation industry will play a key role in that.”

“The government is funding the future of flight and have announced £5m ($6.2m) in funding for new technologies like electric and autonomous aircraft to help us tackle climate change. We are working with our partners to ensure the government takes a leading role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation sector,” the added.

[Featured Image: Shutterstock]

View Comments (19)


  1. SMHarman

    September 30, 2019 at 10:26 am

    The costs would be picked up be the corporations that fly them.

  2. jjmoore

    September 30, 2019 at 11:52 am

    This is absolutely disgusting, and shows the lunacy of the left that truly believes in controlling every aspect of our lives. It’s a shame, and frankly, these people need to take a good hard look at the true impact of aviation on climate change – absolutely nothing. Next think you know, the lefties will finally figure out that volcanic eruptions account for far more of the climate-altering emissions than humans have ever been accountable for, and will be trying to find a way to ban volcanic activity from the world!! LOLOLOLOLOL

  3. kaizen7

    September 30, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    And how many of these people are the government official themselves flying on “official” duty?

  4. Dr.Ells

    September 30, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    The hypocrisy makes me want to kick them. Higher tax bracket??? How about getting a job? And then the first thing they will do is ask for First Class. Work for it!!!!!!

  5. miesterjustin

    October 1, 2019 at 6:48 am

    The true impact of aviation on climate change is much more than nothing, jjmore. From a recent European Commission study: “Direct emissions from aviation account for about 3% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions and more than 2% of global emissions.”


  6. jjmoore

    October 1, 2019 at 9:28 am

    @miesterjustin you need to stop blindly trusting hugely biased sources of information. You and I both know very well that the EC is more interested in selling a political agenda than to report true scientific research in (especially) this matter.

    By the way, I am all for cleaner energy but this can only be adopted when it is economically reasonable and doesn’t risk collapsing the economy.

    Here’s a proposal – tax companies that promote frequent travel. Why punish the traveler? Most that fly very frequently aren’t doing so for personal travel.

  7. mark2

    October 2, 2019 at 4:18 am

    Did the research ask the flyers whether their flights were voluntary?

  8. jctech

    October 2, 2019 at 5:26 am

    It will just be passed on from me to my boss,
    from my boss to the client,
    from the client to his customer.
    Some guy in France will pay for it.

  9. OZFLYER86

    October 2, 2019 at 5:40 am

    what climate change ? It seems the poms have fallen for this con.

    Cars & trucks pollute much more than aircraft. Do you want to stop people using cars, buses, trucks & electricity.

  10. mhrb

    October 2, 2019 at 5:59 am

    Absolutely right couldn’t be done sooner.

    jjmoore – where the “control” you speak of? Isn’t it just people paying their way fairly?

  11. kkua

    October 2, 2019 at 6:17 am

    Implementing this tax will breed a new generation of xenophobes. They won’t be as culturally versed nor have any qualities of being a global citizen.

  12. jmsikora

    October 2, 2019 at 6:17 am

    As a frequent flyer who amassed more than 3 millions actual miles in his career, I can attest to the fact that most travel is necessary. You don’t get on a plane week after week because you “like” it. Granted traveling has its perks and jobs that require travel are usually very challenging and interesting. That said, after a year or two of staying in hotels and waiting in the endless lines that make up a travelers day, the traveling part gets old and routine. The people legislating this obviously don’t travel much on business.

  13. txirish

    October 2, 2019 at 6:29 am

    Ridiculous. The vast majority of those frequent flyers are business travelers who would prefer less travel and more time at home with family and friends. They aren’t waking up and deciding to jump on a plane for fun. The obvious way to reduce air travel (the objective of this scheme) would be to increase the cost by raising taxes on fuel, flight miles, or something else that would boost ticket prices. Unfortunately, that would probably impact personal travelers more than business flyers.

  14. pmiranda

    October 2, 2019 at 6:30 am

    Stupid proposal that doesn’t hit at the root of the issue. If you’re worried about CO2 emissions, tax the fuels that cause them. Then airlines can either change nothing and pass the cost onto the businesses that pay for most of the air travel (not frequent flyers like me that would rather be relaxing at home than working in the air), or put more effort into renewable fuels. Taxation is a pretty effective motivator for large-scale policy. If you convince enough people to go for it, even the big energy companies that sell cheap fossil fuels will get in line, because they have a responsibility to go where the money is.

  15. Danwriter

    October 2, 2019 at 6:46 am

    FlyerTalk used to be a forum where people who flew often, largely for business, could exchange information about how to make that travel somewhat less onerous. FT has devolved into a clickbait destination attracting fringe from Reddit, with “articles” basically cut and pasted from press releases and newspapers. Kind of what like flying itself has become.

  16. signal8

    October 2, 2019 at 7:40 am

    According to this article I save 111.34 tons of CO2 every year since I have 0 kids. (58.6 tons * avg number of 1.9 kids.) I think I deserve a big honking tax credit.

  17. peshwengi

    October 2, 2019 at 7:44 am

    Just tax the fuels and everyone who uses it will have to pay more… we already do that so if governments really want to tax frequent travellers more they just need to increase that tax.

  18. mike turnbull

    October 2, 2019 at 9:01 am

    Depends how it’s taxed….I shall continue ex EU for long haul.

  19. ulxima

    October 2, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Let me see if I get it right.
    We “need to stop blindly trusting hugely biased sources of information”.
    Ok, what kind of data have you got that prove you are right?

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