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Airline Bosses Urge Government to Review APD

The bosses of several UK airlines are rallying against the new APD rise which became effective on 1st April, 2012. The airline chiefs have voiced their concerns about the effects it will have on families booking Caribbean holidays and long-haul trips.

Airline Bosses Urge Government to Review APD

Last month, the British chancellor, George Osborne, announced in his Budget speech that Air Passenger Duty (APD) would be rising by eight per cent from 1st April, 2012.

Airline chiefs from British Airways owner, IAG, Easyjet, Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair have all voiced their concerns over the huge increase and the impact it will have on the travel plans of UK families and tourists looking to book Caribbean holidays or flights to long-haul destinations such as Australia.

The bosses of the UK’s leading airlines are calling on the government to review the policy after Mr Osborne announced that the air passenger duty would rise by eight per cent despite the current economic situation in the UK.

The rise in tax means that travellers will have to pay £13 in APD on short flights and £92 for long-haul flights that travel to destinations more than 4,000 miles away. This increase will seriously affect the price of flights for holidays to the Caribbean, the Middle East, Australia, South Africa and Latin America.

 Caribbean Beaches
Image by: worldtraveller5, on Flickr

APD is charged according to how far away the capital of a country is from the United Kingdom. Despite Florida and Hawaii being located further from the UK, the country’s capital New York is closer than many Caribbean capital cities, so passengers taking flights to the Caribbean are charged more.

The airline bosses said in a joint statement: “APD rises again on April fool’s Day but the public should not be fooled again by this tax and the damage it does to them, to jobs and to the wider economy.

 Great Caribbean Waterfalls
Image by: worldtraveller5, on Flickr

“We urge George Osborne to make APD the first tax to be examined under the Treasury’s new review of the wider impacts of taxation on the economy and to halt the proposed rise in APD to £500 for a family of four until this review is complete.”

The cost of APD for a family of four flying to destinations such as the United States or Egypt has risen from £240 to £260, and the same family taking holidays in the Caribbean or South Africa, will now pay £324, compared to the previous £300.

Travel industry leaders are concerned that not only will travellers be put off visiting long-haul destinations, but the rise in tax will also impact trade on countries across Africa, the Caribbean and Asia.

The Chief executive of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Martin Craigs, commented: “The UK is an island trading nation, air services are the vital lifeblood of modern global commerce.

 Caribbean Beaches
Image by: worldtraveller5, on Flickr

“The UK Air Passenger Duty is now the world’s highest by a wide margin. It is certainly turning away tourism and trade from the world’s fastest growing economic region Asia Pacific.”

The Caribbean’s economy heavily relies on tourists and if fewer travellers from the UK book holidays to the region, local companies such as Caribbean hotels and resorts, tourist attractions, restaurants, and tour operators could lose vital business.

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