12 DECEMBER 2011
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The UK Treasury announcement last Tuesday on Air Passenger Duty (APD) turned out to be one of the biggest damp squibs in what has been, politically, the most depressing year ever for the air transport industry. Expectations were high for beneficial changes following the Prime Minster’s recent promotion of inbound tourism.
As one wag put it: “Mr Cameron clearly wants to help Europe in its hour of need. Amsterdam and Paris airports must be rubbing their hands with glee, Frankfurt too, with its very low tax."
There will be no change in the way the tax is calculated. Even those within Government must have been surprised. The previous evening a senior minister was promised for the launch of Sustainable Aviation Progress Report 2011 (see below), within the confines of the Palace of Westminster. Maria Eagle, Shadow Minister of Transport, very effectively represented the Opposition, but no member of the Government was anywhere to be seen.
The outburst was predictable, but very strong.
Keith Williams, Chief Executive of British Airways, summed it up. "The Government talks about creating the conditions for jobs and growth – but the reality is the opposite. Its tax policy, which is uniquely hostile to aviation, is costing jobs and growth.” www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/2011budget_airpassenger.htm
Our unique Chief Executives photo shows (from left to right) Steve Ridgeway (Virgin Atlantic), Carolyn McCall (easyJet), Willie Walsh (IAG) & Michael O’Leary (Ryanair)
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