Brits give thumbs down to Air Passenger Duty

British travellers are not impressed by the UK government’s increases to Air Passenger Duty (APD), according to the results of a recent survey.

The 2013 Flights Survey, which was carried out by TripAdvisor, a travel website that assists its customers in gathering travel information, revealed that 77 percent of its 1,100 respondents felt that APD should be scrapped. The duty is scheduled to suffer a further increase in April this year, and for a proportion of those surveyed the rise will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, with 27 percent of them saying that the cost of APD will affect their travel plans during the coming year.

The Flights Survey also questioned respondents on their attitudes towards forthcoming changes to security allowances in carry-on luggage that were originally introduced back in 2006. This will see the restriction on carrying more than 100 ml of a liquid in hand luggage revoked in April, thanks to all EU airports now having equipment available that can analyse such liquids. This advance in security technology is probably partly responsible for such a small proportion of travellers registering any concern for the change, with just 17 percent of those questioned saying that they would feel less safe when the restriction is lifted.

Emma Shaw, a TripAdvisor spokesperson, commented on the findings, ‘Flights make up a significant part of the cost of a trip and the results of this research reveal that the ever increasing cost of APD is becoming a real concern for British travellers.

And, while the liquid ban was originally implemented for traveller safety, it seems that the majority of Brits won’t feel any less safe when the restriction is lifted later this year.’

 

Airports in Scotland Ask For Review of Air Passenger Duty

Airports in Scotland have united to demand that Air Passenger Duty (APD) is immediately revoked in the UK, following a recently published report warning of the loss of around two million passengers per year in Scotland.

The managing directors of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports have urged chancellor George Osborne to review APD and how it will affect air traffic in Scotland. The recent report also claims that by 2016 the country’s economy is likely to lose up to GBP210 million in tourism expenditure per annum, due to the implementation of APD.

Amanda McMillan, the managing director of Glasgow Airport, said, ‘Together with the wider aviation industry, we have made repeated representations to the UK Government on APD which, as this report confirms, will continue to damage Scottish aviation by making routes unviable and decimating Scotland’s links to the rest of the world.

Due to the size of the market in Scotland, we will always find it difficult to attain and sustain new routes and this situation is compounded even further by APD which simply serves to artificially depress demand and dissuade airlines from basing aircraft here.

Unless APD is reformed, people travelling to and from Scotland – who must fly due to the lack of feasible alternatives – will continue to face some of the highest levels of taxation in Europe which is clearly a disincentive to travel.’

Derek Provan, the managing director of Aberdeen Airport, said, ‘This report shows, quite simply, that APD is damaging Scotland. It is damaging our economy, our tourism potential and our ability as a nation to bounce back from the recession. It limits our opportunities for growth in the employment market, costing as much as GBP50 million in the process.

At Aberdeen Airport we run a real risk of losing around 200,000 passengers by 2016 through this damaging tax. Each recent increase in APD has had a dramatic impact upon what we, as airports, have achieved and could have achieved without APD.

It is imperative that the UK government undertake a detailed and comprehensive review into APD with the utmost urgency, and at the very least freeze APD whilst that is taking place.’

 

Conservative MPs Could Support APD Tax Reduction in UK

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), a UK-based travel agents association, has reported that 60 percent of Conservative MPs surveyed are against the controversial Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax.

The association has released the results of a survey that it conducted, which suggests that around 61 percent of Conservative MPs feel that APD should be reduced as the tax is damaging for the economy.

The ComRes survey, of around 150 MPs, shows that 49 percent of them feel that existing rates of APD are damaging to UK businesses; while 40 percent of MPs feel APD is causing damage to UK’s economy as a centre for global air travel.

The travel association is also part of the Fair Tax on Flying campaign, which has sent around 250,000 emails to MPs from UK residents and foreign travellers, asking the government to review the APD tax.

Mark Tanzer, the Association’s chief executive officer, said, ‘At a time when we are facing one of the toughest ever downturns in history, the Government must take every measure to get the country back on track to growth. The very fact that half of MPs believe current rates of APD are damaging the economy is a clear indication we need a review into the impacts of this tax before it does any further damage.

Other governments, such as the Dutch, abolished the tax after a review found that the revenue raised was outweighed by the revenue lost. This summer has also shown there is overwhelming public support for a review so now the Government is back from recess we call on them to listen and act.’

Rival airlines unite for report on APD

Four major airlines in the UK have set aside their business rivalry and have jointly commissioned a survey into Air Passenger Duty and its impact on the country’s economy.

The four companies, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Ryanair and Easyjet first came together under the ‘Axe the Tax’ slogan last year, but have now stepped up their campaign by appointing Pricewaterhouse Coopers, a UK accountancy firm, to investigate the economic effects of the increased duty on the British economy.

The airline industry in the UK is unanimous in its condemnation of the tax, which increased by 8 percent at the beginning of the 2012 financial year in April, and is scheduled for a further increase in 2013. Via its ‘Fair Tax on Flying’ initiative, the industry is urging people to use its website to contact their MP’s and register their disapproval of the increases. The initial target is for 100,000 respondents to the petition, with over 90,000 having already taken a few seconds to complete the on-line e-mail template.

Responding to the numbers of new supporters that the fight against Air Passenger Duty has been gaining, including many trade associations and business groups, the chief executive of the British Air Transport Association, Simon Buck, commented: ‘It is great news to see more supporters joining the campaign. It is now clear that we are drawing support from businesses across all regions of the UK as well as the tourism industry. It is time for the chancellor to listen to what we are saying.’

Travellers Told ‘Complain to Your MP About Rise In Air Passenger Duty’

An alliance of more than 30 airlines and tour operators is encouraging travellers to complain to their MP’s about increases in Air Passenger Duty.

The alliance, calling itself ‘A Fair Tax on Flying,’ is also intending to create a list of at least 100,000 signatures of travellers that are disgruntled by the tax increases, which have seen APD rise by 360 percent in the last 7 years. Depending on distances travelled, APD can now add as much as £368 to the flight cost for a family of four, which the alliance say can deter British holidaymakers from travelling abroad and foreign visitors from visiting the UK. Taxes for premium seat passengers can double.

The alliance claims that, ‘Only five European countries tax passengers when they fly overseas and UK rates are twice the level of the next most expensive tax (which is in Germany). A Fair Tax on Flying campaign has calculated that the Treasury collected more than twice as much in passenger taxes in 2011 than the all other European countries that levy a tax combined.’

By visiting www.afairtaxonflying.org and registering their personal details, complainants can have a letter sent in their name to their local MP. It is claimed that in excess of 1,000 people supported the campaign in its first day. The letter reads, ‘Many other European countries, including Holland, Denmark and Belgium, have scrapped their APD because of the impact it was having on families and the wider economy. I ask that you write to the Chancellor to request that the Treasury undertakes research to determine the impact of APD on UK holidaymakers, employment and economic growth.’

The alliance, which includes British Airways, TUI Travel, the British Airline Pilot’s Association and many more major names in the travel industry, has launched a Facebook page to support the campaign at www.Facebook.com/afairtaxonflying.