Call for APD to be axed after XL failure

[September 22nd 2008]

Sri Lanka

Air Passenger Duty should be axed, particularly after the collapse of tour operator XL, says price comparison website, Cheapflights.co.uk.

Cheapflights is calling on Chancellor Alistair Darling to remove Air Passenger Duty (APD) immediately. APD was doubled in the last Budget to £10 each way in economy and £20 each way in business class for flights within the EU, and twice this for flights outside the EU.

This was at a time when the economy was booming, says Cheapflights, but now APD will deter hard-pressed consumers from travelling it suggests. The website also points out that Britain is the only country in the G7 that imposes APD on airline passengers, which puts our domestic airline industry at a competitive disadvantage.

"With the UK economy teetering on recession, the Government needs to act and to act now. The aviation industry has been hit far harder than most sectors of the economy by rising oil prices and infrastructure fees. It will be a sad day indeed when flying once again becomes the preserve of the rich and only the affluent can afford to go abroad," comments Cheapflights chief executive, Chris Cuddy.

"APD creates a double whammy for ordinary working people who are not only prevented from flying to the sunshine but are forced to holiday domestically and thus endure the UK's high prices," Cuddy continues.

It's not only the UK that suffers from APD, Cheapflights states, but it is also damaging the economies of developing countries. Sri Lankan Tourism Director for UK & Ireland, Sanjika Perera, says: "Economy class Air Passenger Duty at £80 for a couple, over and above sky-high fuel surcharges, does not help to increase visitor numbers".

"Sri Lanka with its “The Earth Lung Initiative” expects to be carbon-neutral by 2018 and we would like to see not only fuel efficient aircraft operating from our airports but also such planes bringing more UK visitors" adds Perera.

Cuddy has a simple message for the government. "Ministers have been fast to act on Stamp Duty. They must act equally quickly on APD to give the UK airline industry and UK travellers, especially those at the bottom end of the economic scale, the respite they deserve."

Written by: Nick Purdom

 

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Call For APD To Be Axed After XL Failure