Flying in the face of unfairness: Manchester businesses urged to join fight against air passenger tax

By Danielle Wainwright

The ever-rising cost of air passenger duty tax (APD) is being challenged today as transport officials urge businesses to support its abolition after an 8% increase last year put financial strain on Manchester flyers.

A campaign launched by A Fair Tax on Flying wants British businesses to pledge their support to prove that the high tax is damaging the UK’s economic and tourism industry.

Accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), published new research in May outlining that the abolition of the tax would benefit the UK economy.

The UK has the highest rates of APD in the world with passengers currently expected to pay an extra £94 each to travel 6,000 miles – a big leap compared to only £40 in 2009.

Andrew Cowan, Chief Operating Officer for Manchester Airports Group, said: “We want to continue to highlight the issue of air passenger duty with the launch of this campaign.

“As a group we have long-term growth ambitions to secure more direct links to emerging markets, such as China, to enable local businesses to develop vital links with these areas of the world.

“Growth economies will be vital to the future prosperity of the regions we operate from.

“In today’s global marketplace, airlines have a wealth of choice when choosing where to locate within Europe and APD is hampering the UK’s ability to attract more long haul routes to our regions, particularly when you take into account that many European countries do not have a similar system.”

Last year’s awareness initiative saw more than 200,000 people email their local MP and the Chancellor to voice their concerns about the tax.

The campaign this year wants the backing of businesses as Chief Executive of Association of British Travel Agents Mark Tanzer said the tax is having a ‘major impact’ on them.

“Last year our campaign was all about demonstrating to MPs just how many of their constituents were being affected by APD,” he said.

“But APD doesn’t just affect consumers – it’s having a major impact on businesses.

“Both those who work directly within aviation and tourism and those for whom international travel is crucial to expansion and growth.”

Other transport executives such as Darren Caplan of the Airport Operators Association are urging UK businesses to ‘stand up and be counted’ as year-on-year rises in APD are fundamentally damaging the UK’s competitiveness with European counterparts.

According to PwC’s economic analysis, abolishing APD would provide an immediate and lasting boost to economic growth and crucially, not cost the Exchequer a penny.

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Picture courtesy of Kuster & Wildhaber photography, with thanks.

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