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The Airport Operators Association (AOA) has called on the Chancellor to announce a 50% cut in Air Passenger Duty (APD) in this month’s Budget.

Darren Caplan, AOA chief executive, said: “APD remains the highest aviation tax in the world. It’s increasing from £71 to £73 on economy flights other than short haul and we should reduce it.

“Germany’s air tax is 50% of APD and we should at least be at the level of our nearest competitor.

“Twenty two of 28 countries in the EU ‎don’t even have an air tax.”

Caplan spoke out as a promised abolition of APD on children came into force.

He told Travel Weekly: “Treasury revenue from APD was £971 million in 2006-07. In 2017 it’s forecast to be £3.8 billion.”

He said: “There is recognition that APD is a bad tax, that is why the government abolished the highest bands and cut APD on children.

“George Osborne also accepts APD is a barrier to accessing emerging economies. We urge the Chancellor to do more.”

‎The AOA is concerned about the impending devolution of APD.

Caplan said: “The Scottish government has stated it will reduce APD by 50%. It will introduce competitive distortion if we don’t extend the 50% cut.

“The government launched a consultation on this eight months ago but has not responded, and that breeds uncertainty.”

He pointed out: “At the general election, David Cameron said he would make sure other airports didn’t lose out [from devolution].

“We urge the government – tell us what you propose.”

In a speech during the election campaign, Cameron said: “The SNP is committed to cutting APD. This could distort competition, so we are reviewing to make sure other airports don’t lose out.”

APD on children under 16 is scrapped from today.