24 Nov

The Public Says Enough is Enough to Sky High Aviation Taxes

“7 out of 10 consumers think that Air Passenger Duty is too high”

As the Treasury prepares to increase Air Passenger Duty (APD) by double the rate of inflation, an ABTA survey for the ‘A Fair Tax on Flying’ campaign today reveals that 69% of the public think that they already pay too much tax when they fly from the UK.  ABTA is urging the Government to listen to the public and rethink its intention to increase APD.  

The public is also becoming increasingly aware of the levels of tax they pay, with 65% of customers paying close attention to the amount of tax on their tickets, compared to 58% in 2010.

UK passengers pay the highest rate of air tax in the world, with a family of four flying to the USA paying £240 in economy class and rising to £480 in more expensive classes. The Government intends to raise tax levels in April 2012 as a pure revenue raising exercise. This will not only negatively impact on economic growth, as passengers opt to fly long haul from the continent where there are lesser or no taxes, but may also prove counterproductive; 43% of passengers say that high taxes would put them off flying meaning that the Government may actually lower its total tax take.

Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “For too long successive governments have relied on public ignorance of Air Passenger Duty to steadily increase this damaging tax to the highest levels in the world. Our research shows that the public is wising up to this and is saying, enough is enough, no more increases.

“As well as affecting outbound traffic, high aviation tax levels are doing significant harm to the UK economy by contributing to a fall in visitor numbers and in 2012, the year of the Olympics, which offers an amazing opportunity to showcase the UK, putting the tax up even further sends out a message that the UK is closed for business.”

Commenting, Virgin Atlantic Chief Commercial Officer, Julie Southern, said: “We are very concerned that the Chancellor has failed to rule out retrospective rises in Air Passenger Duty. Hundreds of thousands of customers could be affected. We urge the Government to take our advice and not increase this ridiculously high tax any further.”

Air Passenger Duty paid by a family of four now and estimated amounts after double inflation increase

  2011 2011 April 2012 April 2012
  Economy Premium Economy Premium
Spain £48 £96 £53 £106
USA £240 £480 £264 £528
Caribbean £300 £600 £330 £660
Australia £340 £680 £374 £748

ABTA’s research also revealed there is still a lingering perception that APD is a green tax, 9% of those surveyed believe that the tax is used for environmental purposes. Since APD was introduced in 1994 not one penny has ever been used to benefit the environment.

The ‘Fair Tax on Flying’ campaign, which is backed by an alliance of over 30 companies ranging from airlines, tour operators, destinations and travel trade associations, calls on the Government to make UK aviation tax fairer. For more information visit: http://www.facebook.com/afairtaxonflying