Willie Walsh accused the Treasury and Chancellor George Osborne of burying “their heads in the sand” over Air Passenger Duty (APD)? yesterday.
Walsh, chief executive of British Airways’ parent group IAG, said: “The UK government and the Chancellor need to wake up to the damage APD is doing to the economy.”
He told the Airport Operators Association (AOA) conference in London: “I don’t understand why he [Osborne] or the Treasury is afraid to undertake a fundamental review.
“APD is damaging UK industry and damaging the UK economy. It’s a disgrace.? The economy would benefit if it was scrapped.
“But the Treasury and the Chancellor have buried their heads in the sand. They don’t want to hear about it.”
Referring to Scottish devolution and the pledge of the Scottish government to cut APD by 50%?, Walsh warned: “It will be hugely damaging to regional airports.
“If you can drive to Edinburgh or Glasgow and save £71 on a flight, people will do it.
“You will get a distortion in the competitive environment. Airports like Newcastle will suffer. It is going to cause a lot of harm.”
Walsh told the AOA:? “APD makes the UK unattractive as a destination for tourism and as a destination for business investment.
“Combine that with a visa regime that is not fit for purpose and it makes the UK doubly unattractive.”
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