The UK Chancellor has hiked Air Passenger Duty in his latest budget, ignoring unified calls from industry heads to boost the country’s travel economy by abolishing the controversial tax.
Among the most vocal was British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh who asked Alistair Darling to axe APD along similar lines to the Dutch.
Darling announced the increases in APD last autumn which will be introduced in November 2009 and November 2010.
Walsh called the rises unjustified and wanted them scrapped in the budget. He said they would harm economic recovery and put the UK at a competitive disadvantage.
At a conference in London, he said the planned increases could add £280 to the cost of a family holiday to the Caribbean.
He said: “APD was doubled two years ago, making air travel from the UK the most heavily taxed in the world.”
“The Government’s own figures show that UK airlines already meet their environmental costs, so there can be no ‘green’ justification for these additional taxes.”
lybe reacted with extreme disappointment at Alastair Darling’s failure to postpone the latest round of Air Passenger Duty tax rises in November.
Commenting on the move, Mike Rutter, Flybe’s Chief Commercial Officer said: “As a former Transport Minister, Mr. Darling knows that aviation will play its part in dragging the country out of recession. The government’s own figures show that aviation already pays its own way. By slapping another tax on a British success story like aviation, the Chancellor runs the risk of endangering a recovery that could be led by aviation.”
Dutch authorities have recently scrapped a new flights’ tax because of the way it would harm wider efforts to stimulate an economic upturn.