Exorbitant aviation taxes: It’s a London thing

THE decision by George Osborne, Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer, to scrap air passenger duty (APD) on children is unlikely to appease many of his pro-aviation critics. Penalising families had been one of the main complaints levied against the tax, which on some routes has increased nearly tenfold since its introduction 20 years ago. Another common criticism was that APD unfairly punishes Caribbean travellers because of the rudimentary way it is calculated. (Distances are measured to a country’s capital city, making the tax on a 4,400-mile flight to Trinidad higher than on a 7,200-mile flight to Hawaii.)  This irregularity, too, was rectified in Mr Osborne’s autumn statement, Britain’s mini budget. Both fiscal tweaks are common-sense steps to boost the fairness of what will always be an unpopular tax.But they will do nothing to silence the clarion calls against APD. For people working in the travel industry, ranting and raving about the tax is part of the job description. Questioning the premise that APD damages the British economy—by deterring overseas visitors and sapping the indirect economic benefits of air travel—is corporate blasphemy. The hyperbolic tone was epitomised in October by Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG, the parent group of British Airways (BA). In an opinion piece for the Times, he called APD a “grotesque monster” that must be “put …

Link to article: www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2014/12/exorbitant-aviation-taxes?fsrc=rss

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