3:43pm. Wednesday 22 June 2011
Post by: Stewart Wingate, CEO
The last week has seen a wide range of media coverage on the levels of tax Gatwick passengers pay as part of the price of their tickets.
Not many people know that the UK actually has the highest levels of aviation passenger duty (APD) of any country in the European Union or that in 2010, the tax charged on some flights rose by 55%.
This is a cost that is added to the ticket price paid by all our passengers. We are concerned that flights are made far more expensive than they need to be and that the way APD is charged does nothing to promote a more sustainable aviation sector in the UK.
At the Budget in March, the Chancellor announced that he wanted to reform the tax. Importantly though, he was not prepared to consider any cuts – only a freeze until the next Budget.
I know that the Treasury needs all the revenue that it can get at the moment, but it is a fact that high levels of APD are leading airlines to think twice about growing their businesses in the UK and this will damage the economy at a time when we desperately need to stimulate growth.
As part of Gatwick's response to the Chancellor on this issue, we’ve made it clear that it is not just the way that APD is collected that needs to be looked at, it is the burden that such high rates are placing on the hardworking families and businessmen who choose to fly to and from Gatwick.
Another idea I’ve seen in the papers this week is a move to charge Gatwick passengers more tax than those travelling from regional airports. This is something I will strongly oppose. All air passengers deserve the best experience, at the best ticket price, possible. I hope that if you use Gatwick, you will help us make sure that message is heard.
As we work towards the Government’s decision on the future of aviation tax in November, and from there the 2012 Budget, we will be working with our airlines and the Government to make sure that aviation is recognised as a critical pillar of the UK economy and that tax levels don’t hamper our ability to compete to grow and become London’s airport of choice.
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