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UK: ‘Budget’s APD freeze did not go far enough’


The government’s decision to freeze Air Passenger Duty on all short and long-haul economy flights is proof that lobbying efforts are having some effect.

That was the view of Karen Dee, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association (AOA) – which represents 53 UK airports.

Talking to TTG, she said the fact it had been included in the Budget shows the government is listening to the UK aviation industry’s needs. However, she added that while the change was to be welcomed it does not go far enough.

“The chancellor did take some action on APD, so clearly they [the government] were listening” she said. “Did they go as far as we wanted? Clearly not and there are a number of reasons as to why that might be the case.”

She added much of the reason as to why further reform was not announced lies in the fact that the government likely “needs the revenues raised by the tax”.

“There’s more that could be done for the industry but I’m an optimist and if you persuade a chancellor to cap something that in other years might go up, that’s movement,” Dee said.

Meanwhile although Brexit negotiations might appear to be taking a turn for the worse, Dee said she was confident that the UK government knows where the industry stands on aviation matters.

“If the government is serious about ensuring the UK is outward facing and wants to be a globally connected brand post-Brexit, most people recognise you need good aviation links,” she said. “Not everyone will go abroad via boat and ferry.

“I don’t think there is complacency [over the Brexit negotiations], certainly not from the civil servants and minsters we’re talking with.

“We are very reassured that they’ve been very open and willing to engage and I genuinely believe they understand the role aviation plays.”

Dee added the best outcome from the negotiations would be as close to the open skies deal currently being operated as possible, if not the same agreement.

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