Few people have a good word to say about Air Passenger Duty (APD) and it’s constantly at the forefront of aviation rows and criticism.
So of course it was the centre of much criticism after last month’s budget, when the Chancellor, Mr George Osborne, raised it once again.
As a result of this, APD was hiked up on the 1st April, which has caused more than 12,000 constituents to contact their local MPs over their disgust at the rise.
In recent years it has been called nothing more than “fundamentally a revenue raising tax”. Last year lobbying group, Fair Tax on Flying, urged the British public last year to email their local MPs to lodge their concerns over the constant price hikes in APD. Such hikes have made it the World’s most expensive passenger air flying tax. More than 200,000 members of the public did so, making it one of the UK’s most successful online petitions. ABTA, who played a key role in the Fair Tax on Flying campaign, have vowed to keep up their assault on the Government over the tax.
Many other European countries have abandoned their APD equivalent following the outcries from its countrymen. The UK Government has no such plans. Instead, APD will rise steadily over the next few years, reeling in a whopping £3.9bn in revenue each year by 2016.
To explain, the impact of APD will mean that firm holiday favourite, Florida, will be hit by an APD charge of £268 for a family of four – a huge rise since its introduction back in 1994 by the Conservative party, when EU flights were charged at just £5 APD and £10 everywhere else. The incoming Labour Government gradually increased it and over time it had risen beyond any expectations – Labour then started to call it a ‘green signals tax’ as an environmental way to discourage air travel. However, the current coalition Government is happy to increase it year on year.
Gatwick, like many UK airports, are just as concerned over the ever rising APD as airline heads and travellers alike. Gatwick, the UK’s second largest airport, has already lost out by the increasing APD tax. Air Asia X earlier this year cancelled its Gatwick to Kuala Lumpur service due to APD, and rising fuel costs. This is a huge blow to Gatwick, which offers business and leisure passengers the UK’s widest choice of flights and some of the best airport facilities around – take for example its recent development of its two modern terminal buildings and the proposal of introducing the only Approved Operator Scheme for meet and greet parking providers to ensure safe and secure parking for its travellers.