The UK aviation industry has again called on the government to scrap Air Passenger Duty, as the tax went up by 8% this week.
Air Passenger Duty (APD) has long been a divisive issue, with airlines and passengers alike calling for it to be scrapped.
The 8% increase this week comes just in time for the Easter Bank Holiday, when thousands of British holidaymakers will be taking flights abroad.
The aviation industry have called it a ‘tax on recovery’, saying that the continued growth of air travel is vital to the country’s economic success.
The country’s leading airlines, including easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair, have long been vocal in their criticism of the tax.
“At a time when the Government talks about creating jobs and growth, its blinkered insistence on further increases in Air Passenger Duty achieves precisely the opposite,” the airlines said in a statement.
“Yet again, the Treasury is pressing ahead with further rises without any analysis of their effect on the wider economy. In the absence of such a study, we must assume that the Treasury knows it cannot justify this job-destroying tax in overall economic terms. APD must be scrapped.”
But is not just the British aviation industry that has raised concerns over the tax. Tourist boards in a number of countries have said that the tax will have a detrimental effect.
“The APD impedes tourism, travel, trade and economic growth and unfairly penalises British residents wishing to visit long-haul destinations like Australia and New Zealand,” said John Lee, from the Australian Tourism and Transport Forum.
APD affects all flights in and out of the UK, both long-haul and short-haul. The 8% hike means that a family of four travelling to Florida will have to pay an extra £260.
Flying to farther-flung destinations would cost even more, with a family of four having to pay an extra £440 to fly to the Caribbean and an extra £500 to fly to Australia.
Defending the tax, Chloe Smith, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, told the BBC: “We have made aviation tax fairer by bringing private business jets in for the first time.
“We have been able to be clear about what will then happen to it this year – I think that does represent a fair deal for passengers and I think it does also represent a fair deal for businesses, who are today enjoying a historically low rate of corporation tax.”
Despite the APD hike, holidaymakers can still save money if they are going abroad. Investing in a prepaid travel money card will save money on high bank fees for foreign card use, while also offering a good exchange rate.