Thomas Cook marked next week’s rise of Air Passenger Duty by announcing it will scrap premium economy on outbound flights and launching a “Beat the Taxman” promotion.

The move comes amid growing anger in the travel and aviation industries about the amount of tax being levied by the government and the impact this will have.

Last week at the Travel Convention British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh called for a concerted effort to raise awareness of the issue.

Reports at the weekend suggested the United Nations is considering an international environmental £5 levy on all flights.

Cook’s Beat the Taxman promotion will see latest edition brochures offering £75 per person off all long-haul holidays booked between October 28 and December 16 for departures until May 1, 2011.

The saving is the equivalent of the new economy class APD charge to long haul destinations like the US, Mexico, Kenya, India and the Caribbean. APD will rise by 50% on Monday.

Andy Cooper, Thomas Cook director of government and external affairs, said: “This is about really hammering home the message in a way that consumers cannot miss. 

“As an industry we are not doing enough to highlight this to the consumer. We do not want them to turn away from mainstream destinations so that’s why this deal is being put on the table.

“This is not about avoiding paying the tax, we are simply discounting the product in a different way and, unusually for us, connecting with our public affairs objectives.”

In addition, Cook will remove the Premium Seat option from outbound flights from May 2011, but retain it on the inbound leg on which APD is not payable.