16 Jul

ABTA Chairman calls on industry to unite against APD rises

ABTA Chairman John McEwan has called on travel bodies such as the Scottish Passenger Agents Association, Passenger Shipping Association and Association of Independent tour Operators to unite with ABTA in calling on the Government to rethink its intention to hike Air Passenger Duty [APD] in November 2009 and again in 2010.

Speaking at an ABTA Summer Event in the National Gallery to an audience of MPs, senior civil servants and leading travel industry figures, he said: “We have a number of common views and all feel very strongly about APD which will see a family of four paying £340 tax on a flight to Australia by next year. The tax must be reduced and if not, it will lead to job losses in the UK and have a severe impact on the economies of many developing nations”

Mr McEwan’s call for action followed on recent comments by Environment Secretary Ed Miliband in the Guardian in which he said: “I don’t want to have a situation where only rich people can afford to fly. People in my constituency have benefited from being able to have foreign travel, which, 40 years ago, only the middle classes took for granted.”

Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “We fully agree with Ed Miliband’s sensible comments that air travel should not become once more only the preserve of the well off. However, increasing APD will have precisely that effect.”