THIS autumn’s rise in the Air Passenger Duty (APD) airport departure tax is "insanely stupid" and will "destroy" tourism, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said today.
The increase, due next month, is effectively a "tax on the poor", Mr O’Leary added.
He said the money which would be raised was so much that there was no chance of the Government reversing its decision.
But he said that if the Conservatives won the next General Election they should change APD so it was no longer a flat-rate tax but reflected just how much was paid for the airline ticket.
Speaking at a media conference in London, Mr O’Leary said: "This is an insanely stupid tax and will destroy tourism.
"It’s unfair, particularly on poor people, and will devastate visitor numbers to the UK in 2009."
He went on: "If the Conservatives want a quick win they will change APD so it becomes proportionate to the amount paid for tickets. At the moment APD is a huge and disproportionate tax."
Speaking further about his future working plans at Ryanair, Mr O’Leary said his time with the airline could come to an end "in the next two to three years".
He added that he could foresee a time when the Irish government would ask Ryanair to take over rival Irish carrier Aer Lingus.