Former IATA boss urges government to control ‘negative’ APD

By Tom Newcombe,

Former IATA CEO, Giovanni Bisignani, said the UK government must control rising Air Passenger Duty (APD) as it’s having a negative effect on its economy and aviation industry.

Speaking to BBT Bisignani said “it’s a pity” a country that has been so innovative in the industry has a government that doesn’t treat aviation with the “care and attention it deserves”.

“I remember discussing the issue of APD with the previous British government and I tried to delay the process but now the current lot are not taking care of this issue at all.

“This will have a negative effect on the UK economy and the industry. You only have to look at the tickets to see the level of tax – sometimes it’s bigger than the fare which is wrong.”

Bisignani said it is “strange” a country that has done so well in the recovery process still has the idea this is a “business for millionaires”.

“This is a mass mode of transportation,” he said. “But the UK is sticking to the idea that this tax works because rich passengers are flying, it can’t be right.”

The former director general and CEO of IATA was speaking to BBT after the recent launch of his book Shaking the Skies which charts Bisignani’s time at the organisation.

He joined IATA in 2002 and during his 10 year tenure drove significant industry changes. These included making the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) a condition of IATA membership and introducing e-ticketing. The former contributed to a 58% improvement in safety between 2002 and 2011.

Bisignani also told BBT a third runway at Heathrow is the best option for the UK to improve airport capacity.

Bisignani said the UK economically relies heavily on London and the City of London relies on connectivity, which Bisignani claims is lagging behind parts of Europe and Asia. “The level of connectivity at Heathrow is incredibly low compared to many parts of the world and so a third runway is essential to improve this,” he said.

“The runway at Heathrow is clearly the UK’s biggest problem because it’s operating at 96-98 per cent capacity, so when there’s a storm everything is a complete mess and this must change.”

In 2012, chairman of the Airports Commission, Howard Davies, was asked to investigate the options for increasing aviation capacity in the UK.

In December he unveiled the short-listed options – new runways at Heathrow and Gatwick, and an extension of Heathrow’s existing northern runway.

Sourced by bbt

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