Campaign to halt airport tax rises

Airlines and holiday companies today launched a campaign calling on the Government to halt any further rises in airport departure tax.

The protesters, led by travel organisation Abta and including British Airways and airport operator BAA, have written to Chancellor George Osborne ahead of his Budget later this month.



The organisations have also invited members of the public to back its stance in a Facebook campaign.



Campaigners say air passenger duty (APD) has risen 26-fold since 1994 and it was increased again last autumn, with those flying to the Caribbean in particular facing steep increases.



Abta has announced the results of a survey of 2,046 adults which showed that 63% believed APD levels were too high, with 21% saying they were about right and only 5% reckoning they were too low.



The organisations say that UK air travellers pay by far the highest levels of flight tax in Europe, with a family of four flying from the UK to Florida paying £240 in APD, while if they fly to Australia they can expect to pay £340.



That compares with £11 for an Irish family flying to the same destinations or £15 for a French family.



Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: "When it comes to the future of tourism in the UK, the Government's words and deeds simply do not match up.



"The Prime Minister has identified tourism as one of the top five industries to drive growth, yet aviation tax has become a punitive stealth tax. It is vital that the Government understands the impact it is having on the health of the tourism industry in the UK."



British Airways chief executive Keith Williams said: "We recognise the exceptional difficulty of the country's fiscal position and we are content to pay our fair share.



"But the UK airline industry is already the most heavily taxed in the world and any further tax burden will be counterproductive to the country's economic recovery."



Airport operator BAA said: "We must enhance the UK's attractiveness overseas by reconsidering future plans around aviation duty, as well as making visa processes more visitor-friendly.



"It's essential we don't price ourselves out of the opportunities for growth afforded by the boom in tourism across China, India and Europe.



"As well as aviation and travel, a whole host of other jobs across the leisure industry depend on people travelling to the UK, where we currently have the highest aviation taxes in the world.



"It is vital we look at the bigger picture and take decisive action to help the private sector support our recovery by making Britain a competitive magnet for tourism."



Carolyn McCall, chief executive of budget airline easyJet, said: "We want aviation taxation to be both fairer and greener. We support many of the objectives, but are concerned that the campaign does not address the issue of how the tax delivers on its environmental objectives.



"Four out of five British passengers would pay less tax under a per-plane tax, which would result in private jets, freight flights and foreign transfer passengers paying tax for the first time.



"We look forward to the Government making good on its coalition agreement promise to move from a per-passenger to a per-plane tax."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower