Industry bodies have reacted furiously by a decision by UK chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne to increase Air Passenger Duty. While widely expected, the government has been heavily criticised following an announcement during the Autumn Statement.
British Airways has revealed it will cut recruitment by half in 2012 as a direct result of a government decision to persevere with increases in Air Passenger Duty. The British flag-carrier had been planning to create approximately 800 new jobs in 2012 to support growth of our flying programme, but this will now fall to 400 positions.
Passengers on business jets will be expected to pay Air Passenger Duty the chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, has confirmed. However, owners have been given an additional year’s grace, with the introduction of the tax moved from April 2012 to 2013.
Air Passenger Duty may cause British families to abandon planned flights altogether, according to members of parliament. Findings from a survey carried out by ComRes on behalf of trade body ABTA reveal one in four MPs feel plans for increases in aviation tax in 2012 may stop ordinary families from flying.
The chief executive of Skyscanner, the price comparison website, has disputed rising industry concerns about the impact of rising Air Passenger Duty (APD) on demand for long-haul travel.
Small airports across the UK are blaming Air Passenger Duty for the huge slump in passenger numbers. Traffic in some regional airports has fallen by as much as 70 percent over the past four years, according to new figures from the Civil Aviation Authority.
Passengers could be paying an extra £1 billion a year in increased Air Passenger Duty, Sir Richard Branson’s airline Virgin Atlantic has warned. The carrier said APD raised £2 billion in 2010 but that this figure could rise to £3 billion a year under new government proposals.
Chris Brown, co-founder of online travel agency sunshine.co.uk, commented on the news that EasyJet has warned against a rise in Air Passenger Duty:
Low-cost carrier easyJet has warned that proposed hikes to air passenger duty will lead to a fall of three million British air passengers, and reduce tourist spending by £475m a year. The low-cost carrier also said the APD pricing structure would result in a shift from short to long-haul travel, which in term would harm the environment.