UK airports urge new Government to prioritise APD reduction and action on regional connectivity and aviation capacity in new survey

In a new airports survey ranking the aviation issues that need to be dealt with by Government, members of the Airport Operators Association (AOA) – the trade association representing over 50 airports – said that reducing Air Passenger Duty (APD) across the whole of the UK, implementing the Regional Air Connectivity Fund to support new routes, and acting on the recommendations of the Airports Commission Final Report should be the top three priorities.

On the particular issue of APD, and the potential for the Government to reduce the tax by 50% across the whole of the country in response to the Scottish Government doing likewise north of the border, 24% of members said that this would lead to an increase in passenger numbers of 10-25% at their respective airports, whilst 55% said that it would lead to an increase of 5-10%. Around 4% said that there would be no impact, 3% said that there would be an increase of more than 25%, whist 14% said “none of the above”.

Tim Alderslade, Public Affairs Director at the AOA, said:

“It is clear that there is overwhelming support from across the airports sector for the Government to take action to deal with the negative effects of APD. In particular, AOA members want the Prime Minister to honour the commitment he made during the recent general election campaign to ensure that in the event of Scotland reducing the tax by 50% no airport in the rest of the country would be adversely impacted. There is a strong belief that were this reduction to be matched across the UK it would make a positive contribution to growth in future passenger numbers.

“Members are also telling us that the Government needs to respond as quickly as possible to the recommendations set out in the forthcoming Final Report of the Airports Commission, to ensure the UK has both the runway capacity it needs for the future as well as the ability to make the best use of existing capacity. And airports also want the Government to get on with implementing the Regional Air Connectivity Fund, which provides start-up aid for the development of new air routes: our members are clear that they bid for this funding in good faith and that Ministers should ensure that it is invested as quickly as is practical.

“On the issue of Government support for air links, the AOA believes there is a positive role that the Regional Air Connectivity Fund can play in helping certain routes get off the ground, not only to boost regional connectivity but also to offer substantial advantages to all parts of the UK in terms of business investment and support for tourism. We urge the Department for Transport to implement this policy without delay.”