The Federation of Tour Operators is to appeal against the High Court’s rejection of its challenge over the doubling of Air Passenger Duty.
The FTO won permission to appeal against the Treasury at the second attempt in December and is awaiting a hearing date at the Court of Appeal.
However, its appeal will be limited to a single challenge to the High Court ruling that the Government’s treatment of tour operators did not infringe human rights legislation.
In the hearing in July the FTO argued tour operators were unfairly penalised when forced to pick up the £50 million bill for the extra APD on holidays booked before the February rise in tax was announced.
Its lawyers attempted to show the Treasury had forgotten operators could not pass on the increase to passengers in the way airlines could. However, the FTO also argued APD itself was unlawful under an international convention on air travel.
The High Court ruling in September agreed the Treasury had failed to consider the financial impact on tour operators and suggested it would have been relatively simple to exempt existing bookings from the increase. But it rejected the rest of the FTO’s case.
The FTO was refused immediate leave to appeal and had an initial application to the Court of Appeal turned down before gaining permission for this appeal.
FTO director-general Andy Cooper said: “We are limiting our challenge to arguing tour operators’ rights were breached by having to bear the cost of the increase.”
Success at the Court of Appeal might still achieve FTO members’ prime objective – the repayment by the Treasury of £50 million in APD paid retrospectively.
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