Travel sector in pre-Budget plea for APD cut

Aviation sector leaders have repeated their call for the government to halve Air Passenger Duty.

The pre-Budget call for the air tax to be cut by at least 50% is made in a letter published in The Times.

The bosses of airlines, airports and trade associations warn that the “punitive” tax risks damaging the British economy as the UK leaves the European Union.

Key figures who have put their name to the letter include the heads of Abta, Iata, UKinbound, Airlines UK, Bar UK, the Airport Operators Association, Heathrow, Gatwick, Virgin Atlantic and Thomas Cook Airlines.

“As Brexit approaches, it is vital that British business is given all encouragement possible to reach out and develop trade in both existing and new global markets,” they say.

“But people travelling for business face the highest aviation taxes of any significant economy.

“UK Air Passenger Duty is double that of Germany. Passengers from UK airports pay £75 in APD on long-haul economy and £150 in other classes.

“This punitive level of tax hurts the UK economy in another way too, as travellers seeing trade with, or investment in, the UK pay this tax on their flight home.

“We urge the chancellor to deliver on the government’s vision of a Brexit-ready Britain by making a bold and decisive cut of at least 50% in what is in effect a tax on trade.”

The letter is also signed by other leading businesspeople, the Federation of Small Businesses and Institute of Directors.