A half-day’s campaign at nine airports two weeks ago has led more than 10,000 people to email MPs in protest at high rates of air passenger duty (APD).
The ‘Hands off our Holiday’ campaign by the Airport Operators Association (AOA) and airline representative bodies Bar UK and Bata saw 30,000 leaflets handed out to passengers on the morning of July 11.
By the weekend, 10,218 people had emailed their MP via the Hands off our Holiday website, which has attracted more than 21,000 unique visitors. More than four out five MPs have been contacted, some of them multiple times. The AOA plans further activity through the year.
AOA chief executive Darren Caplan hailed the response as “tremendously encouraging”. He told Travel Weekly: “Holidaymakers are rightly aggrieved that the UK has the highest APD rates in the world and, unbelievably, these are going up next year.
“We hope more holidaymakers will write to MPs and to the Chancellor. If we campaign strongly enough, we can prevent the double inflation APD rise planned in the 2012 Budget.”
The head of the European division of Airports Council International (ACI), Olivier Jankovec, wrote to UK Chancellor George Osborne last week to demand the scrapping of APD.
Director general Jankovec told Osborne: “British passengers are paying 8.5 times the next-highest European aviation tax . . . in the context of rising aviation fuel prices . . . HM Treasury should repeal APD in its entirety. At a minimum, use the upcoming budget to lower APD dues commensurate with the costs of EU emissions trading.”
In Germany, the ADV airport association reported a near 14% year-on-year fall in traffic at Frankfurt-Hahn airport, used by Ryanair, following the government’s imposition of a flight tax at the end of 2010.
The ADV reported an 8% rise in traffic overall in Germany, but suggested Frankfurt-Hahn passengers had driven across the German border to Maastricht airport in the Netherlands where passenger numbers rose 72% over the same period.
Departures from Germany are taxed at €8 (£7) on short haul and €45 (£40) on longer flights.
Who received the most APD complaints?
- Henry Smith (Crawley)
- Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, and transport secretary)
- Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet and aviation minister)
- Vince Cable (Twickenham and business secretary)
- Michael Gove (Surrey Heath and education secretary)
- Adam Afriyie (Windsor)
- Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster)
- Zac Goldsmith (Richmond Park)
- Kwasi Kwarteng (Spelthorne, Surrey)
- Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Kensington)
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