TUI Travel boss Peter Long has urged the government to scrap Air Passenger Duty (APD) as soon as possible.

Speaking at a Parliamentary reception in the House of Commons yesterday, the TUI Travel chief executive joined the throng of travel executives urging the government to replace the tax, which was increased on November 1, with one targeting individual aircraft “as a matter of urgency”.

Failing that, he urged the government to suspend further increases in APD planned for next November, a removal of the premium economy class from the higher band to the lower band, and a resolution of the geographical banding anomalies.

Long’s comments came following Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling’s recent admission that the APD is being used to raise money to bail out the banks.

Long also welcomed the Conservative’s stance following their pledge to consider a tax per aircraft if they win the next election.

Turning his attention to the ATOL protection scheme, Long added it was unfair that tour operators were being forced to compete against scheduled airlines and low-cost aircraft who do not have to bear the brunt of financial protection costs.

However, he did welcome the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority forconsidering bringing a flight, when sold with another service, under the ATOL protection scheme.

Long added TUI Travel will continue to campaign at both UK and European level for the need to protect consumers from airline bankruptcies.

However, he welcomed the European Commission’s decision to agree a review of the European Directive on Package Travel and revealed he will soon be visiting European Commissioner for Consumers, Meglena Kuneva, to reinforce the need for new legislation.

Long said: “It is more crucial than ever that we have a regulatory environment that achieves a proper balance between the rights of customers and the needs of business, ensures fair competition between players competing in the same market and properly incentivises businesses to be carbon efficient.”