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EasyJet has condemned plans by the Coalition government to change the rules on Air Passenger Duty (APD), saying that the proposals will increase CO2 emissions while harming the economy.

The government said in March that it would be increasing APD from £12 to £16 per person for all flights of up to 2,000 miles. In addition the government proposed reducing the rates and number of tax bands on long haul flights.

In easyJet's report, which was conducted by Frontier Economics, the airline said that the plans would cut the number of flights overall, but would lead to higher CO2 emissions thanks to the greater number of long haul flights likely to be flown after the changes.

The report suggests that the changes will lead to three million UK flight passengers per year, a reduction in tourist spending in the UK of £475 million a year, cut UK GDP by £2.6 billion per year and cause as many as 77,000 job losses.

Despite all this potential pain the report says that far from helping the environment, the plans will do more damage as they will result in 360,000 extra tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, thanks to more long haul flights.

EasyJet, which has long been a critic of APD, have suggested a per plane flight tax in its place, which the airline claims would be "fairer on passengers" and "greener".

Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive of easyJet, commented, "This independent report shows that the Government's proposals on APD would be bad for the environment and the economy. APD has already risen by 140% since 2007 on short haul flights. This report provides convincing evidence that the Government should not impose further increases in APD on short haul flights and should rethink its policy on aviation taxation.

"easyJet is in favour of a move to a per plane tax. Four out of five British passengers would be better off under such a tax and, more importantly, it would encourage the industry to fly more efficiently.

"We believe British families and businesses will join our campaign to 'tax planes not people' and we're encouraging them to sign up on easyJet.com."