Business rates relief welcomed but APD decision undermines Government’s “Global Britain” ambitions

Commenting on the Budget, Airport Operators Association Chief Executive Karen Dee said:

“We are pleased that the Government has listened and extended for a further six months the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS), which will  provide some much needed financial relief for airports in England devasted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. However, this will not benefit business/GA airports or be very much help to our largest airports, as it is capped at a level far below their business rates bills.

“The correction to the long-standing taxation of  APD for return leg flights for domestic journeys to a lower rate is very much welcomed and will boost domestic connectivity, particularly for communities with few reasonable alternative transport options and also benefit regional airports. But it is disappointing that Government is delaying these benefits by not implementing the measure until 2023. In addition, cutting domestic APD on the one hand while increasing it on long-haul travel (also from 2023) may make sense on a Treasury spreadsheet but shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how the UK relies on aviation for its prosperity.

“The UK Government’s ambition to create “Global Britain” has seen Ministers invest in improving our trading relationships with key markets across the globe, particularly with Australia and New Zealand. Increasing the tax on the only way to travel to these countries fundamentally undermines that ambition and effort.

“Not only will UK businesses now be penalised for travelling to seek out opportunities and build new trading relationships, there will also be fewer opportunities to get our goods to market. 40% by value of the UK’s non-EU exports travels by air, the majority of which flies in the bellyhold of passenger aircraft. Any increase in APD will affect airline passenger capacity on those routes and therefore also reduce freight capacity.”


 Notes to Editors:

  1. The Airport Operators Association (AOA) is the trade association that represents UK airports. Its mission is to see UK airports grow sustainably. The AOA represents the views of UK airports to Government, Parliament and regulators to secure policy outcomes that help deliver its mission. It represents more than 50 UK airports in the UK. For more information, please visit