Melia Pro

Published on Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Call to cut APD branded 'an utter waste of time'

Members of the aviation and travel sector are wasting their time by repeatedly calling for the Government to cut Air Passenger Duty, according to Responsible Travel director Tim Williamson.

Williamson, who was previously a director Monarch Airlines and TUI UK, was speaking after aviation sector bosses made a pre-Budget call for the Government to halve APD in a letter published in the Times newspaper.

He said: "APD is not going to go down or be cancelled, the plea and lobbying for this is an utter waste of time. It is better lobby for change and to spend the money for what it was intended.

"Responsible Travel is disappointed that APD hasn't been used for its intended creation, as an environmental tax and believes a change of message is required.

"Instead of calling for a reduction in APD, which is not going to be considered with so much financial uncertainty, why not campaign to get some of the money allocated to making flying more sustainable?

"The fact that airlines are unable to make money, apart from Ryanair, cannot be blamed on APD but rather on ultra-low prices due to an over supplied market."

Williamson, who has written about the subject in his latest blog, added: "Flying is hardly too expensive for the UK consumer or business traveller and a decrease in APD would only benefit airline bottom lines.

"Isn't it better and more worthwhile to try and get some of the APD revenue (an easy £3bn+ for the Chancellor) used to benefit travel and flying in the long term, like using a proportion to develop sustainable aviation?"

Rajeev Shaunak, head of travel and tourism at accountancy firm MHA MacIntyre Hudson, also believes an APD cut is unlikely.

He said: "The fall in the value of sterling means holiday prices are up for 2018 which, together with Brexit worries, has led to speculation that it won't be a great year for the travel industry.

"The industry has been demanding a cut in APD for several years.

"APD generates approximately £3 billion for the UK treasury and any reduction would impact other politically sensitive areas such as health, education and social services.

"There's also a danger that if the tax is cut, airlines, already under pressure from increasing oil prices, will simply raise fares. This will leave passengers, and the industry, no better off.

"The most important factor for the sale of holidays is an increase in the 'feel good factor', and putting more money into people's pockets is the easiest way to do that.

"Stimulating the economy is vital and an increase in personal tax allowances will encourage spending."




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