Airline asks Chancellor not to increase APD

[November 24th 2008]

Flybe flight

Europe’s largest regional airline, Flybe, is calling on Chancellor Alistair Darling not to increase Air Passenger Duty in his Pre-Budget Report today.

As the nation anticipates a series of tax cuts, including a reduction in VAT, there is fear among airlines and others in the travel industry that the Chancellor may actually raise the contentious Air Passenger Duty (APD).

Now Flybe, which dubs itself “Europe’s biggest and most successful regional airline” is challenging Alistair Darling not to treat the UK aviation sector as a cheap tax grab.

"The government has spent billions of pounds of taxpayers' money on bailing out the bankers in London and surely now it’s the turn of hard-working families who save up for their annual holiday,” states Flybe chairman and chief executive officer, Jim French.

“Slapping a further tax on holiday flights and business travel will be the clearest message yet that the government will support the Square Mile while the UK regions are hung out to dry," claims French.

The feeling in the travel industry is that increasing APD could hit the sector hard at a time when the looming recession and the falling value of the pound against the euro are already discouraging people from flying.

"When the then-Chancellor Gordon Brown doubled APD in March 2007, there was an immediate drop in air travel by some 4%. It cannot be right that, at a time when even the government's own statistics show that aviation is more than covering its climate change costs, the Chancellor piles further pressure on one of the country's most successful industries and places further a burden on suffering UK businesses,” suggests French.

“Such a move will mean only one thing - fewer passengers and the inevitability of job losses. Remember, airlines have had to contend with record fuel prices, reducing demand and now the collapsing value of the pound which is even more of a problem than the high cost of fuel," adds the Flybe boss.

French concludes by making a direct appeal to the Chancellor: "On behalf of Flybe's 7 million passengers and 3,000 staff, I call upon Mr. Darling to support the aviation industry by freezing or lowering the amount of tax he takes from hard-pressed holidaymakers and business travellers."

Written by: Nick Purdom


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Airline Asks Chancellor Not To Increase APD