Devolving APD to Wales to affect the economy of south west England, warns Bristol airport

11 February 2016 (Last Updated February 11th, 2016 18:30)

England's Bristol airport has warned that devolving the control of air passenger duty (APD) powers to Wales would impact the commercial growth of south-west England.

England's Bristol airport has warned that devolving the control of air passenger duty (APD) powers to Wales would impact the commercial growth of south-west England.

This move can cost south-west England's economy £843m as well as a loss of over 1,500 jobs, reported The Guardian.

The tax has already been devolved to Northern Ireland, while Scotland will go for a cut-price of APD in another two years.

"If this government is going to encourage private investment in UK infrastructure these sort of decisions don't help that."

Bristol airport estimates that it would lose one-fourth of its customers if a zero tariff is applied in Wales.

While short-haul flights fetch APD of £13 per passenger, for long- haul flights it is £71.

Bristol claims that as its passengers are primarily from the price-sensitive market, and Cardiff airport, owned by Wales, is hardly 60 miles away, people would prefer the latter.

Although Britain had earlier rejected calls for devolving APD, the Scottish referendum once again opened the debate.

Bristol airport officials are concerned that George Osborne may grant the APD power to Wales in March budget, reported The Guardian.

Bristol airport chief executive Robert Sinclair was quoted by the publication as saying: "If this government is going to encourage private investment in UK infrastructure these sort of decisions don't help that."

"We're calling on the chancellor once and for all to rule out devolution of APD, to reassure airlines, agencies and staff at Bristol - and Birmingham and Exeter and other airports that would be affected - and give us the reassurance to invest.

"He must reflect on the damage that would cause. It would precisely breach the Carlisle principle that David Cameron established with Scotland; the benefit to Wales would entirely come at the cost of the south-west."