18 MAY 2015
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It got lost somewhere with the general election but the Department for Transport wants by tomorrow (23.45 hrs 19 May) comments from interested parties on displaying air passenger duty (APD) in air travel pricing. No observations on APD itself you will notice. The DfT site makes it very clear that the requirement was from the previous Coalition and not the present Government.
Business Travel News believes that the current APD charges are wrong, and in particular discriminates against domestic travel (where you for the most part pay twice if travelling there and back regionally). Our view is that the domestic APD is illegal. The tax is applied, says the Treasury, on a capital to capital basis. London to London must be zero!
European law requires that, where a passenger air fare price is displayed, it must be a final, all inclusive price, including all unavoidable and foreseeable taxes, fees and charges. It does not clearly break this down and, what presumably the new government wants, as did its predecessor, is to tidy up this anomaly. It should make it the law that APD is clearly shown on the ticket price, by every carrier, every carrier the same.
Another aviation matter is likely to surface shortly (we are keeping away from the Airports Commission in this issue – enough has been said) and that is Manston Airport. Consultants PCW are due to provide their final report by the end of May. This was also a leftover from the Coalition. It would be remarkable if they were to advise the reopening of the facility which has been run at a loss for many years and does not attract airlines or passengers. It will surely be the first turnabout of Mr Cameron’s second term as Prime Minister.
The Tories can at least say they supported a life extension for Manston but have been professionally advised otherwise, if that is what the report says.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
David Bentley, Manchester UK
Cameron threw his hat into the ring very late in the day prior to the election to try to fend off UKIP in Thanet which he did at the Parliamentary level but not at the local one. So now you have a pro-Manston 'coalition' if you like. I reckon it's highly likely an attempt will be made to reopen it, and I do think it has a future for cargo. But not for passengers.