Consumers England and Wales are backing industry calls for Air Passenger Duty to be halved on all short and long-haul flights.
A new poll by independent polling company ComRes reveals that three quarters of adults think that the amount of APD in the UK should be same, regardless of which airport flown from.
Six in 10 (63%) say that all countries in the world should charge the same level of APD.
A majority (60%) also said that the cost of flying is very important in determining how often they travel abroad.
But only around three in ten (27%) English and Welsh adults trust the government to set reasonable tax rates for APD.
The power to control APD is in the process of being devolved to the Scottish government, which has made a commitment to cut the air tax by 50%.
To ensure that the whole of the UK can benefit from a lower air tax, a new campaign – ‘A Fair Tax on Flying for the Whole Country’ – is calling for the Westminster government to cut APD for everyone.
The alliance of airports, airlines, travel companies and leading businesses argues that cutting APD would enable the UK to compete on the global stage.
The campaign is being led by the A Fair Tax on Flying coalition of travel and tourism groups seeking to lower levels of APD – with a view to abolishing the tax altogether.
Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association and spokesman for the A Fair Tax on Flying for the Whole Country campaign, said: “APD is among the highest taxes of its kind anywhere in the world, and at its current level, it is clearly unfair on families and businesses across the UK. APD puts the country at a relative disadvantage.
“Families and businesses should pay the same amount of APD whether they’re from Inverness, Ipswich, or Innsbruck – it’s only fair. The message from the wider public is loud and clear – they simply want a level playing field.
“We believe that reducing APD by at least 50% across the country will make a substantial difference to families, by making flights more affordable. Someone who works hard has every right to enjoy holidays with their family – without being charged a premium for departing from the UK.”
Tui UK and Ireland managing director Nick Longman said: “We take more than 5.5 million customers away every year on holidays which offer exceptional value for money. We believe this is an unfair tax and we have welcomed previous changes to APD rates, but we think more still needs to be done.
“This is to ensure UK customers are not at a disadvantage and so the UK aviation industry can remain competitive with other markets.
“We want to make it as affordable as possible for our customers to travel wherever they want to in the world and we remain fully supportive of the fair tax on flying campaign.”
APD is five times the global average and double that of Germany which is the next highest in Europe.
Campaigners warn that this is having a negative impact on the country – making the UK a less attractive destination to trade with, invest in, and visit.
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