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Cheap Flights Do more Harm Than Good

In this day and age, people fly abroad at any given opportunity, but at the same time there are growing concerns about the effect this has on the environment. Should the prices of flights be taxed more heavily so prices rise and people fly less?

All the Yes points:

  1. Noise pollution
  2. Cheap flights are for the privileged
  3. Aviation takes money away from public services
  4. Other transportation should be used instead.
  5. They take money away from the local economy.
  6. CO2 poisening to the earth, making twice as more CO2.

All the No points:

  1. Unemployment levels would rise even further
  2. Travel to other countries cultures us.
  3. Cheap airlines invest money into the environment
  4. At certain distances, planes are faster.
  5. Save time, money. New Opportunities.

Noise pollution

Yes because…

The World Health Organisation has shown concern for the noise pollution that planes cause. Long term exposure to such noise, 5-30 years, of 65-75 decibels increases the blood pressure of the individual and also increases the risk of hypertension. (1)

This level of noise is found near airports and along flight paths. If we were to increase the price of flying, put up the taxes, less people would fly. If people flew less, there would be less noise, and less people suffering from the above inflictions and so less of a burden on our NHS sorting such problems out.

(1) http://www.planestupid.com/?q=noise

No because…

Cheap flights are for the privileged

Yes because…

It is only the rich who benefit from the low cost of flying. A study was done on Stansted, an airport known for cheap flights and it was found that the average salary of people using the airport was £47,000. Low skilled people, and people on benefits make up a quarter of Britain’s population but they only make up 6% of Stansted users. (1)

This shows us that if we hired the cost of flying, it would not affect the low paid, they rarely fly. It would just mean that the middle class earners would have to pay more and hopefully in turn they will fly less.

(1) http://www.planestupid.com/?q=content/%26%23039%3Bcheap%26%23039%3B-flights-are-priviliged

No because…

Flying used to be a thing for the rich. Now the prices have come down and it is also open to people from poorer backgrounds. This is surely the best way for a democratic society. We have become used to flying and to now render it unaffordable for the poorer classes of our nation is snatching away a great opportunity.

Flagrant disregard of social justice is neither democratic nor fair.

Aviation takes money away from public services

Yes because…

The aviation industry receives £10 billion in tax breaks; this is through tax free fuel and VAT free flight tickets. This money could be used better elsewhere. We could improve the NHS; we could build and improve more schools and we could sort out this credit crunch without raising our taxes!! The government should stop making allowances for the aviation industry and the people who use it.

No because…

This concept that the aviation industry pays not tax is a myth! Train users pay on average 8.5p in tax, plane users pay £10 tax in Air Passenger Duty.

There was controversy when APD was doubled suddenly from £5 to £10 in February 2007. It is a well known fact that airplane users are already taxed, how the government manage this money is a concern entirely up to them. If the money is not being put towards carbon dioxide emissions or the necessary services then it is a mismanagement of money on the government’s behalf. The management of funds needs to be sorted out before more tax is piled on. More money will not solve the problems of mismanagement.

Other transportation should be used instead.

Yes because…

People should not rely on airplanes to get them everywhere. Instead of offering tax breaks to the aviation industry, we should reinvest money into our trains and other transportation systems. These systems release fewer co2 emissions and can be just as effective, but first of all we need to invest money into such systems. If people stopped flying and started using trains, the government would have more incentive to invest money into these transport modes. This can only be a win win.

No because…

It is all very well replacing short haul flights with trains, but this can be no substitute for traveling abroad. We cannot develop underground trains to other countries! So yes, seen as there is another mode of transport, which is just as effective, short hail flights should be taxed heavily. However, the case with long haul flights is totally different. There is no viable option. Possibly trips to the Isle of White and Ireland could be made by boat, but further a field is too much of a strain on modern day time constraints.

So get money for trains via long haul flight taxation. There is no benefit in taxing people to cater for more trains when trains are not a viable option for the journey.

They take money away from the local economy.

Yes because…

Cheap flights encourage tourists to take foreign holidays, weakening domestic tourism. Domestic tourism will be a way this countries economy gets through this recession.

Ok lets democritise flying abroad by having flights numbers capped and allocated by lottery or first come first served, but just allowing air travel to burgeon unchecked isn’t a good or sustainable strategy for our country right, or our planet right now. A global green tax on air fuel would be a good start.

No because…

According to Plane Stupid it is the middle class who make the most use of the aviation industry. Therefore, by increasing the prices, all it will do is lower the chances of the poorer, working classes being able to go abroad. But the lower working classes would not then spend their money on the local economy. People save up for holidays abroad, it is a great incentive. But if they knew all they had to look forward to was a British summer for the umpteenth time, they would lose the incentive to save and instead spend their holidays on the sofa infront of the TV instead.

CO2 poisening to the earth, making twice as more CO2.

Yes because…

It is making twice as more CO2, as it is combining with the CO2 coming in form the O-Zone layer

No because…

Unemployment levels would rise even further

No because…

Britain now has an unemployment level of 1.79million, this is set to rise to 2 million by Christmas(1). This is all due to the credit crunch. Imagine what the figure would be if cheap airlines were to lose trade. Yes, pollution would be lowered by them sending out less flights per day, but in turn it would reduce the amount of staff needed. It would result in large scale sacking.

It would not only be pilots and air hostesses. There would the cleaners of the plane and airports, the engineers, the admin staff in offices and then the financial jobs in big firms. In the current financial climate, Britain could not afford to lose this many jobs that range from low skilled to high skilled.

(1) as of 15th October 2008

–I fear the counter point here is dreadfully poor.

Increased costs equals less people flying, equals less demand for plane companies, equals fewer flights per day, equals less employment vacancies in the aviation industry. This is all too obvious! It is not just cleaners, as has already been made quite apparent.

This debate is not about migrant workers, nor spening money. And the average cost of a long haul plane journey is far more than £20. These figures have merely been pulled out of the air and have no informative content.

Yes because…

Would it?

Would unemployment rise if cheap flights were discouraged by policymakers? I thought people flying from this country usually took some spending money with them? Migrant workers using cheap flights to enter the country send a good proportion of their wages home often, decreasing the capital base for business investment in this country as well as directly competing with indigenous population for jobs.

Local tourism would prosper if less cheap flights were available. Alternative means of transport and their auxilliary workforces would gain business.

When you pay £20 for a flight how can £20 be contributing more to the economy in terms of jobs, than £80 spent on a ticket? We don’t pay cleaners in airports 20p and hour yet do we?

Travel to other countries cultures us.

No because…

Travel cultures us. We can go to another country, find out how they live their lives. We begin to appreciate how lucky as a nation Britain is. We begin to realise how different world cultures are. This culturing of Britons is very important, travel breeds tolerance. In a multicultural nation such tolerance is necessary.

By artificially raising the prices of flights you are preventing the lower classes from experiencing different cultures and in effect increasing the chances of them being racist.

Yes because…

Airplanes/Aeroplanes are the worst polluters and the media(internet,T.Vs etc) is very effective and wonderful cultural connoisseur in today’s world.

Accompanying the (also largely American)media is globalization: hegemonic American imperialistic colonization/ MacDonaldization, mass immigration of people from the east into the west(centuries) preceded by a series of wars/invasions also serving the same purpose of shrinking boundaries all over the world without travel.

Cheap airlines invest money into the environment

No because…

Ryanair, the most popular provider of budget flights, is not opposed to the environment. In fact they invest in the environment. Ryanair wants to use less fuel, and using less fuel helps the environment. It is for this reason they invest their money into the latest technology. In the last 10years Ryanair has reduced its fuel emissions by 55%. The average age of an aircraft with Ryanair is 2.5 (1).
When the average age of aircraft across more expensive airlines, such as British Airways, is 11years, it is easy to see that the relation between cheap flights and environmental damage is not necessarily as strong as organizations such as Plane Stupid make out.

(1) http://www.ryanair.com/site/EN/about.php?page=About&sec=environment

Yes because…

The problem with cut price airlines is that they have no real committment to any of their services. They will dive in and snatch a profit where they can. If the profit is not there, they will close the service again, without a qualm. They accept no responsibility for connections or any thing much else really. They are adept at hiding the true cost of a flight amongst a myriad of extra charges.

The fact that Ryanair has a young aircraft fleet right now is a product of their rapid growth in recent years. It does not prove that they have any principled committment to operating efficient aircraft in the long run.

The other point is that for Ryanair to claim to be saving the environment is a bit like somebody claiming to have saved lots of money by going to the sales. The best way to reduce aircraft emissions is to fly less.

No airline will want to help the environment the real aim is to reduce operating costs .If an alternative to petroleum is found and is more damaging to the environment but is significantly cheaper airlines will not even think of the environment.

At certain distances, planes are faster.

No because…

I think people forget that beyond certain distances (probably around 600 km or 372 miles), flying will become way more convenient.

I mean, let us consider traveling from London to Madrid in Europe. Even after the Spanish AVE high-speed rail system is integrated so it can interchange with the French TGV system, it will take may 8-9 hours to travel from London to Madrid by train travel (London to Paris by Eurostar, Paris to southern France by TGV, southern France to Madrid by AVE). Meanwhile, from any London airport you’ll be in Madrid in less time than it takes for a Eurostar train ride from London to Paris alone!

Yes because…

Save time, money. New Opportunities.

No because…

Imagine if you need to go to Africa or Asia from America or Europe by not using airplane. How long it would take you to arrive at Shanghai or Tokyo from London or New York? Time is money. Without affordable flight, one would find it hard to travel, to work in our world now.

Cheap-flights make the aviation industry more competitive, therefore more affordable to a wider range of customers. Wouldn’t you like to save some money to take your children out for a dinner together instead of paying high priced flight? Wouldn’t you like to see you family go abroad to learn about other cultures? Wouldn’t you like to go abroad for new opportunities or even pleasure?

Yes because…

video conferencing = much more Eco-friendly means of commuting/communicating throughout the world.

Nobody is suggesting getting rid of all flights. The imperative is just to think a bit more about alternatives, and to try to avoid the frivolous use of flying.

Cut price airlines are not usually competing for long-haul business anyway.

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