Virgin Atlantic calls on Conservative Party to scrap further air passenger duties

Virgin Atlantic calls on Conservative Party to scrap further air passenger duties

·    Holidaymakers will bear the brunt of this unjust tax
·    British businesses will suffer as passengers avoid UK
·    The increases spell doom for Caribbean and Africa’s developing economies

The head of Virgin Atlantic, one of the world’s leading long-haul airlines, today called on David Cameron and the Conservative Party to commit to scrapping further increases in Air Passenger Duty, if they are elected to power in 2010.

Air Passenger Duty, or APD, is due to rise in two phases by up to 113% by November next year, hurting all leisure and business travellers leaving the UK.

The first phase increase is planned for 1 November this year.

Steve Ridgway, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, commented:

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“These proposed increases will not only hurt the aviation industry but also harm the British economy and those of many developing countries, like the Caribbean, which heavily rely on the tourism trade.

It will also tax many hard working British holidaymakers out of flying altogether.

“We are therefore calling on the Conservatives to see sense on this issue and commit to scrapping the planned increase for 2010 if they are successful at the next election. Everyone knows the airline industry, along with the wider UK business community, will be severely damaged by these unjust future increases in APD.

“The Government seems to claim this is an environmental tax despite a total lack of evidence to support this claim. Aviation is already paying its own way for carbon emissions generated and any further increases in APD are simply lining government pockets.”

The increases mean, for example, that the APD tax on a flight from Heathrow to Dubai will go up from £40 to £60; the tax on a Premium Economy ticket from Gatwick to Barbados will go up from £80 to £150 and the tax on an Upper Class flight from Heathrow to Sydney will rise from £80 to £170.