Not to be outdone by rival Ryanair on the publicity-seeking front, easyJet chief executive Andy Harrison (pictured, front) today dressed up as a highway robber, holding a banner likening the UK's air passenger duty (APD) to "skyway robbery".
However, while easyJet spent most of this morning at the Low Cost Airlines Congress in London trying to differentiate its approach to aviation's impact on the environment from that taken by its Irish rival Ryanair, the publicity stunt was a mirror image of an anti-APD campaign launched by Ryanair earlier this year. Well, they do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
easyJet is calling for the APD tax to be reformed to include the air cargo and business aviation sectors, and wants there to be between 15 and 20 different tax bands to reflect different types of aircraft.
Not surprisingly, easyJet believes its own fleet should fall in a lower tax bracket than certain aircraft operated by other carriers, and is calling for 700 of the "oldest and dirtiest" aircraft flying around Europe to be banned.
Harrison also used today's conference to again publicise easyJet's self-designed ecoJet, which he insists is "not Star Trek" and will be available by 2015. Harrison today publicly committed to replacing easyJet's fleet with ecoJet aircraft if and when they come into commercial service.