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UK coalition moots APD changes

The British government has mooted the possibility of changes to the wildly unpopular Air Passenger Duty (APD) in an emergency budget.

Addressing the House of Commons today, chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne suggested the government was willing to “explore changes to the aviation tax system”.

He added: “Changes could include switching from a per-passenger to a per-plane duty, which could encourage fuller planes.”

All major changes would follow public consultation, Mr Osborne added.

The move was “broadly welcomed” by ABTA.


ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “It is now up to us to make sure we brief and have full and detailed discussions with government ministers and civil servants before George Osborne reports back in the autumn.

“It is essential that the levels and the mechanisms are set correctly so that ordinary people are not taxed out of flying.

The industry body was also quick to point out the significant of the travel sector to the UK economy, arguing aviation contributes more than £11 billion to GDP.

Some 700,000 British jobs also depend on aviation, argued ABTA.

However, industry insiders have accused the government of kicking the issue into the long grass. With a consultation now underway, planned APD rises scheduled for implementation in November are likely to come into force.

Low-cost carrier easyJet argued the decision was the start of “the process of reforming the daft” APD.

“Four out of five British travellers would be better off under a per plane tax as private jets, cargo aircraft and travellers changing planes in Heathrow will start paying their fair share,” added a statement.