14 Oct

Rises in Air Passenger Duty will damage regional airports

ABTA is calling on the Government to rethink its decision to increase Air Passenger Duty from 1 November as this may lead to many hard pressed airlines reconsidering their routes out of regional airports as well as raising the cost of holidays for families and others on tight budgets. If flights to local airports are axed businesses may be forced to relocate to areas with better transport connections which will put even more pressure on jobs as we struggle through the recession.  Already airlines have axed some routes citing APD rises as one of the factors in their decision. The tax is due to go up again on 1 November 2010 causing even more damage. ABTA urges people to voice their opposition to these increases by signing up to an anti APD 10 Downing Street e-petition which can be accessed at www.abta.com . 

Currently if you fly economy long haul you pay the Government £40 for the privilege. From 1 November 2009 this goes up to between £45-55 depending on the length of the flight and from 1 November 2010 from between £60-£85.  This means a family of four going over to the USA will pay £180 in tax this year and a whopping £240 in 2010. If you have paid for a little extra legroom in premium economy you will pay double these amounts. Earlier this year the Dutch Government ditched a similar tax on the grounds that the damage it caused their economy vastly outweighed the money going into Government coffers. 

Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said “Regional airports are very vulnerable to the negative effect of the Government’s planned APD increases. We urge the Government to rethink these increases as they will place even more pressure on parts of the country already struggling with the worst recession in living memory”

The British Government is now backtracking on claims that APD is a green tax as already the £2 billion pounds raised each year is much greater than the cost of environmental damage caused by flying. UK airlines will be joining the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme in 2012 a much fairer and more efficient way of addressing environmental concerns.