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Published on Monday, July 9, 2012

Virgin drops APD charges to highlight campaign

Virgin is dropping Air Passenger Duty for flights to Mexico to highlight the campaign against the tax.

The APD-free tickets will be available next weekend on 14th and 15th July.

All Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays e-tickets will now carry the message "criticising the unjust tax and giving passengers the chance to petition their local MP against it".

Sir Richard announced the move at the launch of the new route to Cancun, reports the Press Association.

He said the UK Government would be taking close to £600 million in APD during the months of July and August this year.

The move comes as the airline confirms it will fly from London Heathrow to Moscow from next year.

It hopes to start the new service early in 2013 by taking up slots that have become available since British Airways took over bmi.

Bmi currently flies twice daily between Heathrow and Moscow Domodedovo but BA will stop the service in October.

Virgin chief executive Steve Ridgway said: "This route is now open for another UK airline following BA’s takeover of bmi and we are making preparations to take up these rights early next year.

"Linking these two cities will be an important part of our strategy to run short haul flights into Heathrow thus feeding our long haul network. "

As well as securing designation from the UK government, the route launch will depend on winning Heathrow slots that BA was forced to give up following its purchase of bmi earlier this year.

Virgin is fighting to take up the 12 daily slot pairs to feed its long haul network.

The airline said the new route is its first move in its network expansion, including short and mid haul flying from London Heathrow.

It hopes to operate daily flights to the Russian capital using its brand new Airbus A330 aircraft .

Ridgway added: "Given the increased consolidation in the market and challenging economic environment, we need to develop our network proposition and ability to sell more connecting journeys."


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