Virgin Atlantic chief Craig Kreeger denounced Air Passenger Duty (APD) and called on the government to make entry visas more easily available to “demonstrate the UK is open for business” on Tuesday.
Kreeger proposed a series of measures ministers “can do today to demonstrate that the UK is open to business and open to visitors”,
With Brexit approaching, he said: “It is more and more important [the government acts] on things like visas. We need enough resources at borders to welcome visitors.
He also suggested: “The UK could up its spending on overseas marketing.”
Speaking at the Airlines UK Annual Lecture in London. Kreeger denounced the government’s continuing imposition of APD on flights as “so wrong”.
He said: “Long-haul APD at £78 or £156 is a significant portion of the price of a ticket, and it does not say the UK is open for business.
“It is a detriment to the UK transportation sector that it is so out of whack with other countries. APD absolutely makes us uncompetitive.”
Kreeger pointed out the government is consulting on its Aviation Strategy and said: “It is a great opportunity to set out a path to 2050.”
He called on ministers to “use the Aviation Strategy to build a long-term plan and to level the playing field by dramatically reducing APD”.
Kreeger also called on ministers “to establish an independent process to take advantage of Heathrow expansion and create a Heathrow cost guarantee”, and “to deliver new, liberal open skies agreements”.