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Drop in APD revenue ‘should prompt green list expansion’

The Airport Operators Association says latest figures on income generated from Air Passenger Duty should prompt the government to continually assess and expand its travel ‘green list’.

The AOA said research based on HMRC’s latest APD statistics demonstrated the impact of Covid-19 on aviation, with the £638.3 million collected between March 2020 and February 2021 less than the £729.9 million generated in July and August 2019 alone.

The association said HMRC collected more than £3bn less from March 2020 to February 2021 than it did in the same period in 2019/20, an 83.3% drop.

AOA chief executive Karen Dee said: “The latest government figures on Air Passenger Duty show just how near-complete the collapse in air traffic has been as a result of the pandemic.


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“With aviation being a driver of economic growth and prosperity and 1.6 million jobs relying on aviation and tourism in the UK, our economic recovery hinges upon allowing the safe re-opening of international travel.

“It is disappointing that the number of nations on the green list remains extremely limited and that vaccinated people are subject to restrictions when travelling to low-risk nations. This is not the meaningful restart aviation and the UK economy need right now.”

Dee added: “The UK’s world-leading vaccination programme combined with advanced testing capabilities should allow for a genuine green light for international travel.

“The government needs to introduce affordable, rapid testing for green country arrivals and keep the green list under constant review and add countries as soon as the improving health situation in Europe and the US allows.

“After a devastating year for UK airports, we cannot afford another false dawn: it is vital for the UK’s economic recovery that we get this right.”

Henry Smith MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Future of Aviation, said: “The economic consequences of the collapse in international travel have been devastating for sector businesses and aviation communities.

“But these impacts are far more wide-reaching, aviation is an economic enabler and this limited restart of international travel risks holding back our economic recovery and continuing the pain felt by so many over the last year.

“The limited green list risks holding back the restart of our aviation industry and the full restart of a truly Global Britain. After a year of aviation being effectively grounded, we need to reopen to more nations as soon as possible to allow much needed summer holidays, to restart leisure travel and to reunite families.”

He added: “We cannot have a full economic recovery if our aviation and travel industries remain on their knees, a full, safe and proper restart of international travel is an economic imperative and there is much more that the government must do.”

Image: skyNext/Shutterstock.com

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