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Independent Scotland good for BA
Mar 3rd, 2014 by elisa

An independent Scotland could benefit British Airways, said Willie Walsh, chief executive of the airline’s parent company IAG.

Walsh told BBC Breakfast that the Scottish government recognised the negative impact of Air Passenger Duty (APD) on the economy, and plans to reduce and eventually abolish it could be a positive development for BA.

In the White Paper on independence, the Scottish government said APD would cost Scotland “more than £200m a year” in lost tourism expenditure. If there is a “Yes” vote in the referendum, an independent Scotland pledges to reduce APD by 50%, then abolish the tax completely “when public finances allow”.

Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown welcomed Mr Walsh’s intervention: “Willie Walsh can clearly see the opportunities of independence. A boost to tourism and travel in Scotland will have a positive impact on growth.

“Mr Walsh’s comments further underline the UK government’s duty to engage properly with the issues of the independence debate.”

However, the Better Together campaign said APD was not the “strongest argument” for independence, and that jobs would be lost with a “Yes” vote.

A spokesman told the BBC: “Breaking up the most successful economic, political and social union in history for the sake of a tax on holidays doesn’t seem like the strongest argument.

“As the intervention from Standard Life made abundantly clear, leaving the UK would cost jobs here in Scotland.

“Alex Salmond’s failure to tell us what will replace the pound means companies like Standard Life and RBS, which employ thousands of people in Scotland, have warned about the big risks involved in going it alone.”

Suspend APD during school holidays
Feb 24th, 2014 by elisa

A suspension of aviation tax during the school holidays to help make family breaks more affordable is one of the options to be discussed in today’s parliamentary debate.

The debate, chaired by the Commons Backbench Committee, centres on the issue of high holiday prices during school holidays, and the new regulations that mean parents may face a fine if they take their children on holiday in term time.

A survey by the Telegraph found that package holidays are typically 30-40 per cent more expensive during school holidays, and scrapping Air Passenger Duty (APD) would save a family of four between £52 and £376 on an overseas holiday, depending on how far they travel.

Other suggestions have been to stagger school holiday times, and to regulate holiday prices during these peak times.

Air tax changes will increase pollution, says easyJet
Jun 25th, 2011 by jason

Government proposals to increase taxes on short flights and reduce them on long ones will lead to longer flights and more pollution, says easyJet.

A report commissioned by the budget airline says the proposed changes will:

  • Reduce UK passenger numbers by 3 million a year
  • Increase CO2 emissions by up to 360,000 tonnes per year
  • Reduce tourist spending in the UK by £475m a year
  • Reduce UK GDP by £2.6 billion per year
  • Lead to the loss of up to 77,000 jobs

The government proposes to increase Air Passenger Duty (APD) from £12 to £16 per person on flights up to 2,000 miles, but reduce the rates and number of tax bands on long haul flights. Some environmentalists, as well as easyJet, favour a fixed tax on flights rather than passengers, so that the fuller the plane, the lower the tax per passenger.

“This independent report shows that the Government’s proposals on APD would be bad for the environment and the economy,” said easyJet CEO Carolyn McCall. “APD has already risen by 14 per cent since 2007 on short haul flights. This report provides convincing evidence that the Government should not impose further increases in APD on short haul flights and should rethink its policy on aviation taxation.”

Virgin Atlantic also weighed in to the debate, saying: “We share concerns about the impact of further increases on APD on family holidays, British business, and tourism alike. In Britain we already have the highest flight tax in Europe, with a family of four travelling to Florida paying £240 in APD alone.”

However, Virgin predictably supported shifting taxes from long flights onto short ones: “Currently passengers within the EU account for 78 per cent of all flights, but just 41 per cent of APD revenues, and we hope that the Government will look to address this in its current review.”

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