Speaking today at ABTA’s annual policy event, Travel Matters, Craig Kreeger, CEO Virgin Atlantic called on the Government to take swift action on APD and airport capacity in his first public address since joining as CEO.
Speaking at the event, Kreeger said: “Other countries have recognised the negative impact of APD on their economies. There are 1,300 new (aviation) jobs in and around Amsterdam that should be in the UK.”
Further highlighting the damaging impact of APD, Kreeger stressed the effect that APD is having on jobs and local economies in long haul destinations, such as the Caribbean.
He called on the Government to reduce APD and invest in new airport capacity, saying to not do so is “a gigantic growth opportunity being missed.”
Following Kreeger’s comments, the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport took to the stage. He highlighted that the UK has neglected its transport infrastructure over many years, and that the UK is now paying for this underinvestment. He further outlined where investment is being made by this Government in rail, and through additional competition amongst the UK's airports.
Commenting on APD he made it clear that any decision over the future of the tax would come from the Treasury.
Mark Tanzer, CEO, ABTA commenting on these debates, said: “We’re pleased to see that the Secretary of State is keen to meet the industry and hear its views at ABTA's Travel Matters event. Nevertheless, progress on the issues of reducing APD and increasing aviation capacity by repeated Government administrations has been glacial. There is a strong appetite from the industry, which is apparent today, to see swift action from the Government to address these issues and to help generate growth.”