What they said: How the travel industry reacted to the Budget and the change to APD

George Osborne leaves to deliver the 2014 Budget

The chancellor’s decision to spring a major surprise and partially reform Air Passenger Duty has largely been welcomed by the trade.

From April 1 2015, bands C and D will be abolished moving the likes of the Caribbean, South Africa and Australia onto a level playing field with the USA.

Below are a selection of comments from the industry.

Campaign group A Fair Tax on Flying

“A Fair Tax on Flying welcomes the government’s reforms to Air Passenger Duty (APD) in this Budget which will see a saving to passengers and businesses travelling long-haul of over £200m annually. It is a recognition that for far too long, travellers have been suffering as a result of the excessive levels of APD.”

Richard Sealy, Barbados’s minister of tourism and international transport

“Over more than four visits I undertook to UK in order to hold meetings with key government and travel figures I was struck by how forcefully the travel industry came together on this issue. Our key travel industry partners were incredibly supportive in arguing with Barbados against the APD whilst still continuing to advocate travel to our country.”

Beverly Nicholson-Doty, chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation

“This is a complete victory for the Caribbean, which, led by the CTO, has been lobbying against the unfair system which charged a higher rate of APD on flights to Barbados than Hawaii and placed the United States at a competitive advantage. We are delighted that the Chancellor has finally accepted the Caribbean’s proposal made in November 2010 to return to the simpler and fairer two band system.”

Amanda Wills, managing director of Virgin Holidays

“This is a very welcome announcement, and a real victory for the Caribbean and UK travel industry communities. The long haul market has taken enough of a battering because of the tough economic headwinds in recent years and the threatened increase in APD was the last thing it needed.”

Mark Tanzer, chief executive of Abta

“ABTA strongly welcomes the Chancellor’s announced cut to Air Passenger Duty and changes to the banding system as a first step in the reform of this damaging tax. Moving all long-haul flights into band B of APD at current levels will save passengers over £200m annually, and should boost travel and tourism as well as promote greater UK connectivity.

Peter Long, chief executive of Tui Travel

“We welcome today’s announcement by the Chancellor that APD bands C & D will be abolished from April 2015. We recognise the importance of this change and the difference that it will make to hardworking families in the UK, along with the tourism destinations worldwide that will benefit from reduced Air Passenger Duty rates.”

Jimmy Martin, president of the SPAA

“It’s a welcome first step, and a sign that the Government can listen when it’s motivated – or feels pressured – to do so. We hope it will be followed – before the next election – by a significant reduction in the high levels of APD currently levied on every UK air traveller.”

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association

“It is clear the Government has recognised that Air Passenger Duty represents a growing barrier to growth and investment, putting the UK at a competitive disadvantage compared to our nearest international rivals. The treasury, in this Budget, has acknowledged that high levels of long-haul APD compromise our ability to provide the connectivity to both existing and emerging markets that we will need if we are to win in the global race.”

Simon Buck, chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association

“We hope this positive first step recognising the damage caused by this tax will lead to the Government undertaking further reforms of APD in future, such as on the double tax hit on domestic flights.”

Paul Wait, chief executive of the GTMC

“The GTMC in its submissions to the Treasury and dealings with MPs has been calling for the simplification of APD bands to remove the most damaging aspects of this tax and facilitate an expansion of trade with key growth markets. Without this reform APD directly contradicts the rest of UK government policy by taxing new emerging markets the most.”

Dale Keller, chief executive of the Board of Airline Representatives

“The government has finally acknowledged what the industry and business knew all along – that the highest rates of aviation tax in the world were a brake on driving the UK’s economic growth with emerging markets.”

Virgin Atlantic

“A two band APD rate is a very welcome simplification to remove some of the biggest distortions of the current system, which the Chancellor himself admitted is crazy and unjust. The Government has rightly recognised the damage APD is having on exporters and the travelling public alike.”

Sourced by TTG Digital

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