Scrap Air Tax, Say Travel Firms
Britain's leading travel companies have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer demanding an end to Air Passenger Duty (APD) and better financial protection for airline passengers.
The letter, from ABTA to Alistair Darling, includes a 5-point plan to help British holidaymakers and travel firms survive the recession.
According to recent surveys, the economic downturn means 15% fewer Britons will travel abroad this year. Travel companies believe that the planned rise in APD, up from £5 to £10 on short-haul flights and from £10 to £40 on long-haul trips, will prevent even more people from taking a foreign holiday this year.
The travel industry fears that Mr Darling will confirm a further increase in APD by between £12 and £85 per person per flight in his Budget on April 22.
In the letter, sent last week, ABTA has asked Mr Darling to consider scrapping, or at least cutting, APD.
ABTA has also urged the government to provide financial protection for airline customers. At the moment, only those travelling on a package holiday are guaranteed to get their money back if an airline goes bust, while those who book direct with an airline risk losing their money and being stranded abroad.
Unless or until the government steps in to end this anomaly, air passengers can protect their cash by taking out scheduled airline cover as a bolt-on to their standard travel insurance.