AOA Annual Conference opens as Chancellor prepares Budget

The Airport Operators Association’s (AOA) Annual Conference opens today [Monday 29 October 2018] with a call on the Chancellor to seize the opportunity to cut Air Passenger Duty (APD) and get the UK Brexit-ready.

While passenger growth has been steady in recent years, last year the UK was the only EU country to see direct connectivity decline by 0.8%. As we prepare for Brexit and the UK’s global opportunities, the Chancellor should today seize the opportunity to cut APD by 50% so UK airports can compete on a level playing field with our European neighbours.

Only six other EU countries charge a departure tax, the highest of which is levied in Germany at less than half the rate of the UK’s APD. This is hampering the UK’s ability to compete for new routes, with airlines preferring to fly to countries that charge low or no aviation taxes.

At the AOA Annual Conference, the aviation industry is coming together to prepare for the future of UK aviation. Airports stand ready to meet the growing demand from consumers and businesses alike as part of the Government’s Global Britain ambitions, but this has to be delivered in partnership with Government.

Not only should the Chancellor take action on APD, the Government should ensure that Border Force has the necessary resources to deliver a secure but welcoming border, with dramatically shorter queues.

The Government’s planned Aviation Strategy will be a focal topic at the AOA Annual Conference, with a call from industry for the Strategy to give UK aviation the tools necessary to prepare and build for the future. This includes a framework for sustainable aviation capacity growth and improved surface transport to airports

Chief Executive of the AOA, Karen Dee said:

“The UK aviation industry is working hard to deliver the services passengers want. But we’re being hampered in our efforts by the anti-competitive Air Passenger Duty. The Government should take urgent action in today’s Budget to ensure the UK has the direct aviation connectivity needed for our economy and our ambition to be a Global Britain.

“Cutting Air Passenger Duty in half to match Germany’s tax is one of the quickest ways to boost connectivity growth.

“The Aviation Strategy is a prime opportunity to take further action to provide aviation with a licence to grow, sustainably. It should provide a framework that enables all UK airports, airlines and Border Force have the capacity to meet the growing demands of consumers and businesses alike.

“Action on APD together with a bold and forward-thinking Aviation Strategy will enable UK airports to create jobs, facilitate trade and boost economic growth across the UK.”