Airline body to demand APD’s ‘final destination’ – abolition

By Phil Davies,

A “new and unique” opportunity has emerged to secure the  abolition of Air Passenger Duty, industry leaders and politicians will hear tonight (Wednesday).

Growing public and political concern over the air tax, combined with forthcoming devolution of powers over APD to Scotland, means it should be abolished across the UK during the next Parliament.

The message will come at the annual dinner of the British Air Transport Association in London.

With keynote speaker and former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond MSP in attendance, the airline trade body will welcome the Scottish government’s commitment to act on APD when it receives the necessary powers.

The abolition of APD will be one of five policy proposals contained in a new Bata manifesto to be published in March.

The manifesto will set out the economic and social benefits generated by UK airlines and will propose five policy areas where government action would enable the sector to deliver even more in the next Parliament.

Recent reforms that abolish the two highest long-haul bands and exempt children from paying APD are “positive steps in right direction”, but Bata will tonight call for the final destination to be abolition.

Chief executive Nathan Stower will say: “The UK still has the highest tax on flying in the world by some margin. The next government should finish the job, put this damaging tax on trade, tourism, families and businesses out of its misery, and abolish APD in the next Parliament.”

Citing Northern Ireland and Holland as examples, Bata will highlight how passengers are prepared to travel across borders to take advantage of differences in flight taxes.

The UK government was forced to significantly reduce APD on long-haul flights in Northern Ireland during this Parliament, followed swiftly by full devolution, to stem the flow of passengers travelling south to Dublin to take advantage of Ireland’s nominal equivalent tax.

The UK and Scottish governments will be urged to learn from the Northern Ireland experience.

Stower will say: “Bata members respect the decision to devolve APD to Scotland and agree that the tax is damaging to families and businesses in Scotland, as it is in the rest of the UK.

“We welcome the Scottish government’s commitment to halving APD with a view to abolition, but urge that full abolition be achieved by both the Scottish and UK governments in the next Parliament to prevent unfairness for passengers across the UK and to avoid market distortions.”

Supporting the campaign, easyJet CEO Carolyn McCall said: “APD is tax on passengers and has a proven, negative impact on UK tourism, investment and business activity. That is why we are working with other UK airlines to abolish the tax.

“Abolishing APD would boost the UK economy and pay for itself by increasing revenues from other sources. Research by PwC has revealed that the GDP boost to the UK economy would amount to at least £16 billion in the first three years and result in almost 60,000 extra jobs in the UK over the longer term.”

Sourced by Travel Weekly

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