The industry’s Fair Tax on Flying coalition plans to extend opposition to rising Air Passenger Duty (APD).
Campaign leaders have agreed a series of activities which British Air Transport Association chief executive Simon Buck says will “cement the work to raise consumer awareness and make a powerful case to the Treasury to look afresh at APD and the damage it is doing to the economy”.
A Fair Tax on Flying, launched a year ago, aims to target a core range of decision makers in and around Parliament, commission research on the impact APD is having on the economy and the Treasury’s overall tax take, and mobilise consumers online through a new website and e-petition to enable members of the public to back the campaign.
The coalition is made up of industry associations, airlines, airports and trade bodies and includes Abta, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Tui Travel, Thomas Cook, Carlson Wagonlit, Monarch, Expedia, the Scottish Passenger Agents Association, the Airport Operators Association and tourist office association Antor.
Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “We have dramatically increased consumer awareness about APD since A Fair Tax on Flying was formed. We plan to build on that to mobilise consumers, bring in new partners and get the Chancellor to act.”
Luke Pollard, Abta head of public affairs, added: “APD is doing damage to the UK. It is bad for the economy and is pricing people out of flying. We are looking to expand the group.”
Airport Operator’s Association chief executive Darren Caplan said: “The Chancellor will go ahead with an 8% APD rise in his budget next month. We are hoping to grow the size and influence of the campaign.”
Mike Carrivick, chief executive of the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK (BAR UK), added: “The Treasury has made significant cuts to APD on flights departing Belfast. We have to advance the case that it should be doing the same throughout the UK.”
Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) president Kevin Thom warned: “Scottish passengers are feeling the effects of higher APD.” Buck said: “We know 2012 will be challenging for the public finances. It is for that reason we must be even more robust in prosecuting our case.”
The Treasury’s tax take from APD is due to rise 8% from April when the Chancellor implements a double-inflation increase. However, the costs to carriers of joining the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in January mean the industry and passengers are paying even more.
Current APD rates mean a family of four pays £240 in tax to fly in economy class to the US.
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