The Fair Tax on Flying alliance is calling on the Chancellor to take a lead from the Irish Government after it announced its intention to abolish the tax on passengers flying out of the Republic. The Irish have followed the Dutch, Norwegians, Danish and Maltese who all axed their aviation taxes after assessing the damage caused to their economies and they have highlighted the major economic benefits of having more passenger routes.
The UK will now be one of only four European countries that levy a tax on air passengers. This year the Government will raise £2.2 billion and it is threatening to hike this to £3.6 billion by 2015. The Fair Tax on Flying campaign is asking the Government to rethink its policy of aviation tax which threatens to strangle travel and tourism’s economic growth.
Last week the Government unveiled its tourism strategy and stated that it wants to “remove barriers to growth” for the industry, however aviation tax is recognised as a major block on growth.
The Fair Tax on Flying alliance which launched earlier this month consists of over 30 leading travel organisations including airlines, airports, trade associations and destinations. The campaign has created a dedicated Facebook page to raise awareness of the tax and allow consumers to register their views. It is also encouraging the public to write to their MPs to help prevent further increases. The Chancellor is due to make an announcement in the 23 March budget on the current form of aviation tax, Air Passenger Duty.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive, said: “The Irish Government is just the latest to see that taxing air passengers is counter productive with any revenue raised outweighed by the damage caused to the wider economy. The Fair Tax on Flying campaign urges the Chancellor to take a lead from the Irish and not hike aviation tax even higher if he is sincere in his intention to help travel and tourism grow and flourish.”
Amanda Wills Managing Director of new alliance member Virgin Holidays said: “Virgin Holidays is 100 per cent behind the Fair Tax on Flying campaign. We believe a fairer flight tax system is critical for both the UK economy and overseas destinations which are reliant on the income generated by international tourism. We urge the Chancellor to work with the travel and tourism industry on developing a system that encourages choice, allows us to remain competitive against other markets, promotes a sustainable contribution to the destinations to which we send our customers and which finally allows our sector to continue to contribute to the growth of the UK economy.”
The new Irish Government has pledged to abolish their aviation tax which charges €3 on each passenger flying from the Republic. The UK Government currently charges passengers the highest rates of aviation tax in Europe; £12 on economy flights to Europe and up to £85 on long haul flights with these amounts doubling on premium rated fares.