Journal: TWUKSection:
Title: Issue Date: 17/07/00
Author: Page Number: 76
Copyright: Other











Business class no longer viable once new ruling enforced




APD leads Air 2000 to review Premium class




Report by LOUISE LONGMAN

FIRST Choice is looking at scrapping its Premium Service on Air 2000 flights when new levels of Air Passenger Duty come into effect on April 1 next year.


The decision comes after the Government announced plans in this year’s budget to keep the £10 APD on short-haul business-class flights and double the tax on long-haul business-class tickets from £20 to £40. APDon short-haul economy flights will be halved from £10 to £5.


First Choice product director Kyle Haughton said:”The Premium Service we have is classified as business-class because we offer upgraded meals, bigger seats and extra leg room,complimentary drinks and in-flight entertainment.”


“Additional tax on a £450 holiday is more noticeable than the same amount of tax paid on a family holiday costing more than £1,000.


“We are looking at our options and we may decide to keep the tax on our long-haul Classic Premium Service but on short-haul flights we are either going to review the upgraded service, not offer it at all or find a way of getting around the tax.”


Haughton is appealing to Customs and Excise for further clarification over the issue of upgraded seats.


“As well as our Premium Service, we also offer economy seats which are wider and have extra leg room so I’m not sure if these are classified as business class as well.


“If it means stripping some of the frills, then that is what we’ll have to do. This could signal the end of Premium Service.”