Air travellers were hit with a double whammy in Chancellor Gordon Brown’s pre-Budget Report.

From February 1 next year the air passenger duty (APD) – the tax air travellers have to pay each time they leave a UK airport – will double.

This will mean APD will be rising from #5 to #10 for those economy-seat passengers taking domestic and European short-haul flights, with the APD rising from #20 to #40 for economy-seat travellers on long-haul flights.

Passengers travelling in airlines’ various business class and first class cabins already pay twice as much in APD as those sitting in economy class.

These premium-class travellers will, from February, have to pay #40 for short-haul flights and #80 for long-haul flights.

Paul Charles, director of communications at Sir Richard Branson’s airline Virgin Atlantic, said: "History has shown that since the APD was introduced, the number of passengers flying has increased sharply.

"Virgin Atlantic believes that higher taxes are not the answer to tackling global warming, as travellers will always want to fly to see friends and relatives or meet business contacts. Increasing APD does not incentivise the aviation industry to find solutions for the cleaner engines of the future.

"Instead, there needs to be a greater focus on cutting emissions at source, through a combination of measures such as towing aircraft towards runways instead of taxiing on engines, greater efficiencies within European air traffic control systems, and the creation of a European emissions trading scheme."

More Birmingham Post pre-Budget stories:

>> Brown blasted for 'feeble' report
>> Brown fails to go green
>> Sir Digby sets sights on skills
>> Political Editor Jonathan Walker gives his opinion
>> Birmingham Chamber of Commerce & Industry's reaction
>> Air fares to rise
>> Pension fear over u-turn
>> Brown cautious but not frugal

>> Read Gordon Brown's speech in full
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