UK Airports urge George Osborne to cancel planned increase in Air Passenger Duty, to boost jobs and growth

The Airport Operators Association (AOA), the trade body which represents UK airports, today urged Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, to cancel the planned Air Passenger Duty (APD) increase in his Budget next Wednesday.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the AOA, said: “MPs from across the political spectrum will be looking for action from the Chancellor that will boost the sluggish UK economy. There is powerful evidence that jettisoning the APD hike would do just that, helping to drive economic recovery and deliver the Government’s priorities of jobs and growth.

“With a more competitive tax regime the UK aviation sector could play a key role in developing trade, particularly with emerging markets such as China and India, supporting tourism and attracting inward investment.”

He pointed to growing evidence that rising levels of APD had resulted in key routes being lost to the UK, with more than four out of five of the UK’s airports reporting to the AOA that “current levels of APD are having an impact on whether airlines choose to fly from our airport”. Mr Caplan said that there is mounting evidence a fairer tax regime for aviation would more than pay for itself thanks to increased tax revenue derived from higher growth, but if the Government was sceptical about this it could find out for itself by urgently commissioning an economic study into the impacts of APD.

APD has increased between 160% and 360% (depending on flight distance) in the UK since 2007 and its top rate is 8.5 times the average of those other countries in Europe which still levy a charge. Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark have all abandoned their aviation taxes, citing the negative effects on their economies.

Mr Caplan said that aviation already contributes £50 billion to the British economy, supports a million jobs and has higher productivity on average than in the wider economy.

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Notes to Editors:

The Airport Operators Association: The AOA is the trade association that represents UK airports. Its mission is to see UK airports grow sustainably. It represents the views of UK airports to Government, Parliament and Regulators to secure policy outcomes that help deliver our mission. The AOA represents some 70 UK airports and general aviation airfields in the UK. For more information, please visit