There appears little desire among rival political parties to abolish Air Passenger Duty as part of their general election manifestos, according to the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC).
The GTMC has welcomed a focus on key transport issues by the main political parties, including airport capacity in London and the southeast and high speed rail.
But the organsation said that APD is “notable by its absence” and suggests that wider manifesto declarations around increases in spending suggest that it will remain.
“Whilst there have been reductions recently for the leisure market, the business traveller is still unfortunately feeling the full effect of APD which presents another barrier to international markets and economic growth,” the Guild said.
The GTMC's own election manifesto calls for the next government to take swift and decisive action in response to the findings of the Airports Commission.
This is a point reiterated by the Conservatives, Labour and UKIP who have all stated their commitment to making a swift response to the review and address the issue of airport capacity.
Support for HS2 has been confirmed by the three main political parties, however UKIP and the Green Party have stated their opposition to this development of the rail network.
“Disappointingly none of the major political parties have included a commitment to connect the high speed rail network to Heathrow airport,” the Guild said. “Recent GTMC research among business travellers revealed that over half support high speed rail projects.”
Guild chief executive Paul Wait said: “It is encouraging to see that transport has been acknowledged by the main political parties ahead of the forthcoming election and is firmly on their agenda.
“That said, the fact that none of the main parties have stated their position on APD is disappointing.
“Our latest research highlighted that over half (51%) of business travellers said they would fly more frequently following the introduction of a simplified or reduced APD structure.
“There is a distinct short-sightedness from government in recognising the potential value that increased travel and trade to international markets can bring to the UK economy.
“Across the board we urge the next government to place transport at the top of its ‘to do list’ so that business travel has the infrastructure in place to deliver economic growth.”
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