Air tax rise ‘will hit UK holidaymakers hard’

Monday, 12 March 2012 11:35

The Chancellor is being urged to ditch a planned rise in air passenger duty which would result in a family of four flying to Spain paying an extra £52 for their journey.

Next month’s proposed eight per cent increase would also add £260 on to the cost of a family’s flights to Florida and £368 to the price of travelling to Australia, figures from World Travel & Tourism Council indicate.

According to the industry body, removing the travel tax would create an additional 91,000 UK jobs and add £4.2 billion to the economy in the space of just 12 months.

WTTC president David Scowsill said: “Air passenger duty is a completely disproportionate tax on people’s holidays and is hitting business travel hard.”

In the next 12 months, the Government will collect £2.8 billion in extra tax from air travellers, far more than any other country in the world.

Mr Scowsill said that travel and tourism grew by 4.1 per cent in the UK last year, but is forecast to slow to 1.3 per cent in 2012.

He claimed the slowdown is partly due to the impact of air passenger duty, which is dampening demand.

Airport passenger duty was introduced at £5 in 1994. Today it adds as much as £85 on to the price of travel to far flung destinations, according to Martin Craigs, chief executive of the Pacific Asia Travel Association.

Meanwhile, four airlines, EasyJet, Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and BA’s parent company IAG, have also called on George Osborne to scrap the duty increase.

But a Treasury spokesman said the Government froze the tax last year and that a rise in April would only result in an average of £1 extra for the majority of passengers.


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