This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE I 39 The Review ➔ Industry bemoans APD rise


THERE are few issues on which the travel industry stands united, but the rise of Air Passenger Duty in April, as announced by the govern- ment in December, is one of them. Business leaders, industry associations and airlines all spoke out vehemently opposed to the rise which comes at a difficult time for both the aviation industry and the wider UK economy. The severity of the situation was


such that, in an unusual joint stand, the chief executives of four of the country's biggest airlines – British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic – came together to release a joint statement ahead of the government's decision on APD, a plea to postpone the tax rise that ultimately fell on deaf ears. The letter to the chancellor high- lighted the fact that passenger numbers at UK airports have fallen consecutively for the last three years to a level lower than 2004. In 2010, there were 7.4million fewer passengers in the UK, while numbers using European airports grew by 66.3 million. APD was doubled in 2007 and


hiked again in each of the last two years. A rise of eight to nine per cent – double the rate of inflation – will now take affect in April. It comes in spite of the launch this year of the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), a pro- gramme designed to offset the aviation industry's harmful impact on the environment – the very reason for which APD was ostensibly introduced.


IN THE AIR IN BRIEF


• VIRGIN Atlantic will launch a four- times-weekly service from London Heathrow to Vancouver on May 24th, the carrier's 34th route worldwide. The service will operates initially through the summer until October 27th, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The airline is also adding a second service to San Francisco which will operate three times a week. Virgin already flies to nine North American cities.


APD will now rise to £13 on short-haul flights and to £92 on routes in excess of 6,000 miles, with two further intermediate bands. The fees are double for business class fares (ie, £26 and £184) and, to the consternation of most in the industry, the Premium Economy cabins will still be taxed at the same rate as business class. The Board of Airline Represent- atives in the UK reacted with 'total dismay' to the decision. “The excessive increases in APD continue to discriminate against air travellers and will provide the resolve for the industry to seek meaningful change. BAR UK will continue work with other leaders to get change sooner than later,” said Mike Carrivick, chief executive of BAR UK. A British Airways statement said,


“APD is by far the highest aviation tax in the world. It is a tax on


economic activity – a tax on jobs in airlines, airports, UK tourism and leisure, and many supplier industries. It is also a tax on doing business with Britain. “To provide the transport links


vital for success in a global economy, UK business needs a thriving aviation sector. APD is not creating the foundations for growth. It is destroying them.“ An indication of just what it means for the UK's appeal to overseas airlines came from a Singapore Airlines statement that said: “From the perspective of an international, long-haul carrier, such levels of taxation inevitably damages the appeal of the UK as a destination in comparison to other European countries. It also runs contrary to claims that the UK is ‘open for business’.” See page 8 for incoming ITM UK Chair Nicola Lomas' views on APD.


• GERMANWINGS launches flights from London Heathrow to Stuttgart in February (21 flights a week) and from Manchester to Stuttgart in July (five a week). The launches come as part of a consolidated network with parent company, Lufthansa, which will see Germanwings fly to all Lufthansa's European destinations out of Stuttgart as of summer 2012.


• QATAR Airways adds a fifth daily flight between London and Doha from March 25th, taking capacity up from 28 to 35 flights each week. Its new B777 aircraft will be used on the new service, with 42 seats in business class and 217 seats economy.


• ETIHAD Airways has increased its stake in Air Berlin to 29 per cent, becoming its biggest shareholder. The move will see Air Berlin launch flights to Abu Dhabi and extend the airlines' networks to cover 239 destinations across 77 countries. Etihad will provide five-year financing facilities of up to US$255million to support fleet dev- elopment and future network growth.


• FROM March 25th four Emirates' five daily services between London Heathrow and Dubai will be served by the A380 double decker aircraft. It features 14 First Class Private Suites, 76 'mini-pods' in business class and 427 seats in economy.


Fly to Tunisia in style with Tunisair


Return Business Class fares* from £360, Heathrow-Tunis, and £420, Manchester-Monastir. Further reductions for the 2nd passenger travelling on the same fl ight. NEW additional Heathrow-Tunis fl ight, Thursdays


*Excluding taxes. Subject to availability. Booking class D, tickets valid for one month.


Let’s enjoy fl ying together www.tunisair.com


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96