Belfast Telegraph

Air body urges Osborne to abolish APD in Budget

By Staff Reporter

A comparison of air passenger duty (APD) with similar taxes in other countries demonstrates how "internationally uncompetitive" the UK's position is, according to a trade body.

The British Air Transport Association (Bata), whose members include British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and easyJet, urged Chancellor George Osborne to "transform" the economy by announcing plans to abolish APD in next week's Budget.

Departing short-haul flights in economy class are subject to APD of £13 per passenger. APD is being devolved to Scotland, whose government has committed to halving the rate by 50% from 2018.

Bata chief executive Nathan Stower said the report "clearly illustrates the competitive advantage Scotland will gain over the rest of the UK after a halving of APD".

In an interview for the Belfast Telegraph, Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said tourism in Northern Ireland is being hit because departures are subject to APD, while Dublin flights are not.

"A million people a year are travelling from Northern Ireland to Dublin to get lower fares that have no travel tax," he said. Ryanair is due to launch new air routes from Belfast International Airport later this month.

The Chancellor has abolished APD for under 16s, but UK passengers are still forecast to pay over £3bn in APD this year. From next month, long haul departures will attract a tax of £73, the most expensive in the world.

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