Travel industry bosses are among 250 UK chief executives, managing directors and board members to have signed a new petition calling for a government re-think on Air Passenger Duty.
They tell chancellor George Osborne today that the air tax is a “significant additional burden” on British businesses.
The petition says that APD is “too high” and calls on the government to undertake “urgent action to reduce the world’s highest air passenger tax”.
Signatories include Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews, Virgin Atlantic chief executive Craig Kreeger, British Airways chief executive Keith Williams, Travelzoo UK managing director Joel Brandon-Bravo, Statesman Travel Group managing director Mervyn Williamson, Bristol airport chief executive Robert Sinclair and Manchester Airports Group chief executive Charlie Cornish.
Petition supporters have also written a letter to the chancellor saying that “the government appears to be turning a blind eye to the impacts of APD on the UK’s business … we are disheartened that you plan yet more year-on-year rises in APD and urge you in the strongest possible terms to reconsider the government’s approach”.
Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “It is excellent that so many businesses are now backing the campaign against APD, but it’s important we don’t stop there.
“We need to continue growing support to demonstrate to the Treasury just how damaging this tax is to all business sectors across the UK.
“I would encourage all business leaders who have been affected by APD to visit afairtaxonflying.org/business to share their concerns.”
Dale Keller, chief executive of the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK, said: “The overriding message from the campaign is that businesses across the UK are deeply concerned with the affect APD is having upon their prospects in these challenging economic times.
“Having the highest aviation taxes in the world sends completely the wrong message overseas and this must be rectified if the UK is to restore its competitiveness.”
Kreeger said: “The support of the chambers of commerce and business associations from around the country highlight the serious concerns they have about the uncompetitive rate of APD, which is the world’s highest air passenger tax.
“As the economy continues to recover, now is the right time for the chancellor and his team to look again at APD in order to help grow exports and inbound tourism.”
John Bridge, chief executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, who signed the petition, said: “Having the world’s highest passenger tax is quite simply a threat to future economic growth.”
Today’s petition follows a grass-roots campaign last year by industry lobby group A Fair Tax on Flying during which 200,000 people wrote MPs calling for a Treasury economic review of APD.
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