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Airlines Give Furious Response to Budget

Airlines Give Furious Response to Budget

Airlines have reacted angrily to Chancellor George Osborne's refusal to use his latest Budget to cut Air Passenger Duty. In a joint statement, the chief executives of British Airways' parent IAG, easyJet, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic said the planned rise in APD "beggars belief". "We are very disappointed that the Government's tax on flying, already the highest in the world, will increase yet again this year and next," they said.

UK Budget - Airlines furious over failure to cut Air Passenger Duty

"These rises in Air Passenger Duty show the emptiness of rhetoric on boosting exports to emerging economies and building the most competitive tax system in the world.

"Increasing this alarmingly uncompetitive tax on business, trade, and inbound tourism beggars belief when the evidence clearly suggests that abolition would deliver growth, create 60,000 jobs and pay for itself through higher receipts from other taxes."

The campaign group A Fair Tax on Flying, which garnered support from some 200,000 people who wrote to their MPs to protest against APD, described the rise as "incredibly disappointing".

George Osbourne's Budget Team

Dale Keller, chief executive of The Board of Airline Representatives in the UK said: "Just because the industry was fully expecting a slap in the face from the Treasury does not make it any more palatable.

"It's beyond belief that the Chancellor has put beer before aviation," he said, referring to the reduction in ale tax.

"We have listened to much talk from the Government about the UK being in a global economic race and the importance for the UK to become more competitive, yet airlines, amongst the most global of businesses; continue to be hammered by the highest aviation tax in the world.

"The Government has built a veritable 'wall of tax' around the UK which international travellers and airlines are increasingly overflying."

The Chancellor did announce a range of tax cuts, some of which will benefit travel companies, but the Forum of Private Business said most firms would be hugely disappointed after the Chancellor gave no concessions on business rates.

Forum spokesman Robert Downes said: "Ask any small businesses what they wanted to see from this Budget and many will have said: 'action on business rates'.

Flights from UK to Orlando affected by high Airline Passenger Duty (APD)

"We said before the Budget government couldn't keep clobbering businesses with hike after hike, and unfortunately we haven't seen that sentiment acknowledged today by Mr Osborne.

"It was really a case of enough already years ago, and April's increase which now goes ahead as planned will mean rates have spiralled by a mammoth 13% in just three years. There aren't many businesses who've seen income increase by anything close to that figure with sluggish growth and recession to contend with in the same period.

"Business rates have risen so much in just a few years they are the number one enemy to many small firms, and we believe are a big part of the problem behind the problems with our high streets too. It's disappointing to see no action here - it was the obvious way to relieve pressures and is a missed chance for quick and easy relief for business."

Join our campaign www.facebook.com/afairtaxonflying

ABTA, the travel trade body, is the mastermind behind the A Fair Tax On Flying campaign, which is also supported by an alliance of more than 25 airlines, airports, tour operators, destinations and trade associations, including BAA, British Airways, Lastminute.com, BMI, TUI travel and Virgin Atlantic.

ABTA believes Air Passenger Duty (APD) is having a detrimental impact on the travel industry and, subsequently, the UK economy.

Spokespeople from the tourism industry will go on TV and radio to talk about the value of tourism and the impact of APD on holiday spending. They will also speak to the public on a dedicated Facebook page, www.facebook.com/afairtaxonflying.