Travel industry and airline bosses have joined forces with unions in an unprecedented last-ditch call to the government to re-think Air Passenger Duty (APD).
More than 25 chief executives from companies including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, EasyJet, Tui Travel UK, Thomas Cook, Carnival UK and Advantage Travel Centres have signed a statement issued today ahead of the Budget on Wednesday.
They are joined by the heads of the Unite union and pilots' union Balpa. together with the chief executives of Monarch, Flybe, Jet2.com and BMI plus overseas carriers such as American Airlines and Etihad Airways.
The statement demands the government look again at the 8% hike in APD planned from April, saying the industry is “puzzled and disappointed” by the double-inflation rise.
It describes the action as “short-sighted and ill-considered", says it "will place the UK at an even greater competitive disadvantage” and demands an "urgent review" of the impact of APD on the economy.
The industry statement says: “There will be both a huge increase in APD and there are no plans to offset the cost of the new Emissions Trading Scheme for passengers. This means there will be a double tax increase for passengers this year.
“We call on the Chancellor to urgently commission an independent study of APD's overall economic value."
It adds: “Until recognition is given to the immense value to the UK economy from air travel, and a more equitable tax regime is established, APD will continue to inflict economic damage to the industry and the UK economy.
“We strongly urge the Chancellor to scrap the planned APD increases in his budget, as a prelude to abolition of this tax.”
The statement follows the publication of research last week by the World Travel & Tourism Council which found that removing APD would result in an additional 91,000 British jobs being created and £4.2 billion added to the economy in just 12 months.
The chief executives who have signed the statement include Keith Williams of British Airways, Steve Ridgway of Virgin Atlantic, Ian Ailles of Thomas Cook and David Dingle of Carnival UK. Their names sit alongside that of Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite.
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