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Trade association Airlines for Europe has called on the UK Government to abolish Air Passenger Duty (APD), to boost economic output by 1.7 percent and create 61,000 new jobs by 2020.
The call was made by A4E Managing Director Thomas Reynaert and the CEOs of A4E member airlines EasyJet, IAG, and Norwegian at the Global Aviation Festival in London.
Reynaert said: "The UK has the highest aviation tax worldwide. This puts it at a competitive disadvantage as other European hubs take traffic and business away from the UK precisely because of APD. Following the vote to leave the European Union (EU) every effort should be made to ensure the UK economy improves its competitiveness and secures its position as [a] worldwide trading nation. It's time for the UK Government to get rid of this tax, which punishes businesses and consumers."
APD was introduced in 1994. A4E said the cost of APD had risen 824 percent by 2015, with passengers paying more than GBP31bn (USD41.1bn) over this 21-year period.
The tax rate for short-haul trips in the lowest class of travel has increased by 160 percent, and the rate for long-haul trips has risen by 630 percent. The corresponding increases for travel in higher classes have been 420 percent for short-haul and 1,360 percent for long-haul flights, A4E added.
"The UK spends hundreds of millions of pounds attracting foreign tourists and business people to the country and then charges them up to GBP146 in tax to return home," Reynaert pointed out. He argued that eliminating the tax would make the UK more attractive, accessible, and welcoming to visitors.
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