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Virgin pleads Conservative Party to Scrap Increases to Air Passenger Duty

Virgin Atlantic is appealing to the Conservative Party to scrap the new APD increases if they take power in 2010. The new APD charges are scheduled to begin this month and increase taxes up to 113% by November 2010

Virgin pleads Conservative Party to Scrap Increases to Air Passenger Duty

A pioneer in many aspects of the travel industry, the popular carrier responsible for taking many British passengers to exotic holiday destinations is showing its most serious side by appealing to the Conservative Party for a stop to the planned tax increases of APD (Air Passenger Duty) which would take start taking place from the beginning of this month

Demanding a fairer approach to the travel industry, the head of Virgin Atlantic called on David Cameron and the Conservative Party to commit to scrapping further increases in Air Passenger Duty, if they are elected to power in 2010.

“These proposed increases will not only hurt the aviation industry but also harm the British economy and those of many developing countries, like the Caribbean, which heavily rely on the tourism trade. It will also tax many hard working British holidaymakers out of flying altogether.

“We are therefore calling on the Conservatives to see sense on this issue and commit to scrapping the planned increase for 2010 if they are successful at the next election. Everyone knows the airline industry, along with the wider UK business community, will be severely damaged by these unjust future increases in APD.

“The Government seems to claim this is an environmental tax despite a total lack of evidence to support this claim. Aviation is already paying its own way for carbon emissions generated and any further increases in APD are simply lining government pockets.” were the words of Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic.

Air Passenger Duty, or APD, is due to rise in two phases by up to 113% by November next year, hurting all leisure and business travellers leaving the UK, and being especially harmful to Caribbean holidays. The first phase increase was initially planned to start on 1st November this year.

These tax increases will mean that, for example, the APD tax on a flight from Heathrow to Dubai will go up from £40 to £60; the tax on a Premium Economy ticket from Gatwick to Barbados will go up from £80 to £150 and the tax on an Upper Class flight from Heathrow to Sydney will rise from £80 to £170. And if the amounts go up by that much for a mid-haul flight to the Middle East you can only add up to how much more expensive it will make Caribbean holidays.

This is why since July all of Virgin Atlantic’s e-tickets have carried messages criticising the unfair tax increase by the UK Government, and asking passengers to visit a new information website they set up at so they can protest to their local MP about the increases.

On the other hand Virgin Atlantic actively supports proposals for a global carbon emissions trading scheme involving all airlines, which is being proposed at this December's Copenhagen Summit. The proceeds from the scheme will go towards finding clean energy solutions.

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