UK Air Passenger Duty: the more harm than benefit story continues

- Brussels, Belgium

On 1 April, the UK government will once again increase the amount of the so-called Air Passenger Duty (APD), a shockingly uncompetitive tax that jeopardises the travel plans of many families and companies. The Association of European Airlines (AEA) strongly condemns this increase in APD, which now becomes the highest flight tax in the world as it will seriously harm all air travel to, from and within the UK.

Disregarding repeated calls from the travel industry, customers and businesses, the UK Government has done nothing to avoid a further increase of the highly controversial Air Passenger Duty, which was first introduced in 1994 as a flat charge of ₤5 or ₤10 per passenger, depending on the class of seat purchased. From 1 April, APD will add ₤94 to the price of a long-haul economy flight of more than 6,000 miles and ₤188 to business and first class tickets. For airlines, the UK is the second most expensive country in the world. In a recent World Economic Forum Report, the country is ranked 139 out of 140 for the competitiveness of its airport and aviation taxes.

“Independent studies have clearly indicated that government taxes on air travel have a suffocating effect that creates more harm than benefit”, says Mr Athar Husain Khan, acting Secretary General of AEA. “It might be easy to sell as a great revenue generator during budget discussions, but in reality they are seriously harming the economy and trade. Increasing the burden on an industry that can facilitate growth and job creation in the European economy is unacceptable.”

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