Abta has warned that the impact of the government’s new “flying stealth tax” will soon become clear as many families find themselves priced out of taking a foreign holiday or visiting their relatives overseas.
The message came as the association released the results of research which found that two thirds [nearly 70%] of consumers do not know how much tax they are paying on a flight.
It means that the majority of customers are unaware of the full extent of the large sums they are contributing to the Exchequer every time they set foot on an aircraft in the UK, according to Abta.
This is because government increases in Air Passenger Duty – which rises again on Monday – have been hidden behind the overall price of an airline ticket so it is harder for increases to be understood by the travelling public.
The government has said that it intends to double APD revenue by 2014 to £3.8 billion, representing the largest stealth tax rise to hit travellers, Abta says.
But the Abta study of more than 2,000 people also found that 90% of consumers are sceptical about the environmental justification behind the flying poll tax despite successive governments justifying APD as a “green tax”.
Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “For too long our customers have been taken advantage of with successive governments seeing flying as a convenient cash cow.
“These latest huge increases in APD will disproportionately affect families on tight budgets when they are under considerable financial pressure.
“Increasing taxes will make taking holidays and visiting friends and relatives unaffordable for many. Not only is this tax increase pricing people out of taking holidays it also is putting the UK at a clear competitive disadvantage when compared to our European competitors.”
Abta will continue to call on the government to halt planned tax rises that will see APD double in the next five years and adopt a fairer tax system that will encourage real environmental improvements in air travel.
“The government will continue to hike air taxes unless there is a public outcry and Abta is calling on holiday makers who will be paying more for their flights from Monday to make their views known to their MP and stop further increases in this flying poll tax,” warned Tanzer.
The Dutch government axed its version of APD in 2008 after concluding that the damage to their economy vastly outweighed any revenue raised by the tax.