24 AUGUST 2020


© 2022 Business Travel News Ltd.

Article from BTNews 24 AUGUST 2020

COMMENT: APD – Suspend it says BTN – And take to the air

The UK airline industry is in crisis, its leaders working behind closed doors, and not visible.

The Government turns away, seemingly ignoring the near fatal collapse of Britain’s airlines and the consequences to the UK economy.   Ministerial action is needed now!

Business Travel News would like to put forward two therapies which will not cure the problems, but will at least send out the right messages.

As a well-known brand continues to say ‘every little helps’.

Firstly, cancel Air Passenger Duty (APD) on a temporary basis.  Yes, this has been vigorously lobbied by various groups at Whitehall, but with no success.  See BTN 6 July

It is far from the solution on how to get the passengers moving through the airports but what it does is show globally that this Government is very aware of the value of the airports, and its user airlines, UK-registered and international.  It demonstrates that we are open for business, are dealing with Covid-19 in an incisive manner and welcoming guests.  This needs to get out globally.  Heathrow is ready to take up guard duty (as noted in this issue) and the other gateways will follow.

Our second suggestion is for the leaders of our airlines and airports to fly, where they can, and speak up for the country, act as ambassadors and send the message that Britain is not a closed shop. Once again this is a world-wide memo.  For the British air transport bosses to be seen at other world-wide centres must be good news.  The Transport Minister and CAA chairman should join them, and if the airlines cannot agree on which carrier to use the RAF’s Airbus A330 Voyager aircraft needs to be made available.  Bring the media too.

But first the Transport Secretary and the Aviation Minister need to get to the London airports, show a face, take a flight and then do the same at the other end.

These are catastrophic times.  Exceptional action is needed. Now!

See also John Holland-Kaye Live – in this week's BTN.

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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum

Malcolm Ginsberg, London

What Mr Cryan fails to point out is a tax is a tax and at the end of the day it is the passenger who will have to pay, no matter which way it is applied. Not the airline

Stephen Cryan, San Sebastian, Spain.

APD is a personal polltax and so should be abolished. Air passengers do not pollute only aircraft(in their design) and the engines in their fuel consumption and efficiency. So the taxes should be on the airlines not the passengers. Aircraft should pay VAT on fuel at the same rate as other means of transport.(At the moment I believe they pay no VAT). Also a special green tax should be applied to ALL aircraft. Its application should be determined by the noise produced by both airframes and engines, but also on fuel consumption and the resulting fumes produced. That way you will see a speedier introduction of fuel efficient aircraft. Also the Treasury will have no reason to complain if the taxes are applied correctly.

Mike Pitman, Jersey

Two things: were APD truly being used solely for green purposes then it would have stayed low. It is a useful cash cow for your government. Secondly until the UK populations comes out of hiding and goes back to work, then the countrt is effectively closed. Who would risk coming to the UK when contradictory advice is being put out on a daily basis.

William Bell, Chester

APD was introduced in 2007 to cut aircraft carbon dioxide emissions. Since there is now no flying the Government can justify its removal.

Julian Adams, London

I doubt if cancelling APD will make any difference, but it’s a gesture. Does the Government care?

John Smith, Kilburn - London

APD yes. Government should have done ages ago. VIP trips no go. If they had gone to Croatia last week it would have been a waste of time. But LCY to Dundee why not. Or Heathrow to Edinburgh.