The Airport Operators Association (AOA) in the UK has described UK’s Autumn Statement as a ‘missed opportunity’ after Chancellor Philip Hammond made no changes to air passenger duty (APD).
Hammond did not make any mention of APD in the statement and documents that have been released by the treasury also did not refer to the duty.
Responding to the Autumn Statement AOA chief executive Darren Caplan said: “It is disappointing that the Chancellor has failed to seize the opportunity to cut air passenger duty today and demonstrate that the UK is open for business by doing so.
“The UK’s APD is one of the highest air taxes in the world and with our nearest neighbours either charging nothing or less than half of what the UK levies, it harms our global competitiveness.
“The AOA will continue to make the case that APD is unfair on families and is a tax on the UK’s global competitiveness and connectivity.”
AOA urged the UK Government to cut APD to open up new trading opportunities with emerging markets.
Airlines for Europe (A4E) also requested the government to scrap APD prior to the release of the Autumn Statement.
In addition, the chief executives of the UK’s three largest airlines warned that APD hampered the country’s economic growth, business and tourism.
International Airlines Group (IAG) CEO Willie Walsh said: “APD damages the UK’s competitiveness and jobs. It’s a revenue raising tax designed to suppress air transport growth which is exactly what the economy does not need right now.
“Other countries which have scrapped their aviation taxes have seen an immediate boost to their GDP and tourism.”
APD raised more than £3bn from nearly 110 million passengers in 2015.
Short-haul passengers are currently being charged £13 for every departing flight from the UK, while long-haul passengers are paying £146 per flight.