Virgin calls for higher short-haul APD

Hotel News - 18/07/2011

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Virgin Atlantic is calling for an increase in APD tax for passengers on short-haul flights. The UK long-haul airline says travellers on long-haul trips are being made to subsidise those taking shorter flights.

The carrier today said that increasing Air Passenger Duty (APD) for short-haul trips by the same amount as it has been for longer flights in the past four years would generate £222 million more in revenues each year. Passengers flying long-haul have seen APD rise by more than 50 per cent while short-haul trips have only had APD increased by 20 per cent.

The lowest existing rate for APD at the moment is £12. That’s the rate of taxation for passengers flying in economy class seating on short-haul flights Travellers on long-haul routes, however, can see themselves forking out up to £170 in APD if they’re flying first-class or business-class to somewhere like Australia, for example.

Virgin has proposed that a new APD rate of £20 be charged on short-haul trips in order to redress what it sees as a ‘disparity’. The carrier says raising the APD to this level on short-haul travel would produce another £650 million for the Treasury.

The airline says such a move would let the Government cut the APD rates it charges business travellers and holidaymakers. Virgin says these groups already pay more than they should have to.

Virgin says APD on long-haul flights has ‘rocketed’ over recent years, hitting the average family of four with an extra fee of £260 for a trip to Orlando in Florida. The airline says it analysed flights to destinations in Europe that can be reached by rail and found that the existing short-haul APD rate has not deterred people from taking trips by air.

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