The head of the Airport Operators Association called on Chancellor George Osborne to cancel the forthcoming hike in Air Passenger Duty (APD) last night.
AOA chairman Ed Anderson told secretary of state for transport Justine Greening and 1,200 representatives of the industry at the association’s annual dinner: “The current level of APD is a major reason why airlines will not put on new routes from our members’ airports.
“Aviation contributes £50 billion a year to the UK economy and pays £8 billion in tax. Next month we have a double inflation increase in APD. Enough damage has been done. There should be no more increases.”
Anderson added: “It’s perverse that a further increase in APD is planned on the eve of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics and as the government starts a campaign to encourage more visitors to the UK.
“A year ago the Chancellor cancelled a planned increase. I urge the Chancellor to cancel this increase.”
Greening told AOA members: “I hear what you say about APD and will make sure my Treasury colleagues hear it too.” However, she said: “APD has become more important than ever as we pay down the debt.”
She argued: “The government is committed to maintaining the country’s global hub status.” But then Greening added: “Only China and the US have more extensive connections than the UK and London is the best-connected city in the world.”
Greening is a former Treasury secretary who worked on the government review of APD last year that ruled out a reform of the current banding structure.