Stansted: Airport welcomes bid for lower airport taxes

STANSTED Airport owners have welcomed a survey out today which found that the public want lower airport taxes and companies desire more Government support for aviation.

As many as 82% of the public want the Air Passenger Duty (APD) airport departure tax cut or frozen by Chancellor George Osborne, according to the study.

And more than three in four businesses believe that it is more important than ever that the Government supports the aviation industry to help deliver its growth and jobs agenda.

The polls were commissioned by the Airport Operators Association (AOA) as it launched its own integrated policy for UK aviation “to address Government’s failure to do so”.

Chris Wiggan, Stansted Airport’s Head of Public Affairs, said: “It is excellent news that the survey by the AOA highlights such strong support for reductions in APD. Britain has the highest aviation tax in the world with rates some 8.5 times the average of other countries in Europe. We are losing business to our continental rivals and it is having a damaging effect on the UK economy. Only recently the British Chamber of Commerce found that APD could cost the economy a staggering �10 billion in lost growth and up to 250,000 fewer jobs over the next 20 years.”

The AOA’s policy paper sets out 25 key recommendations to Government which would boost aviation and help bring about more jobs, business and economic growth to benefit the whole of the UK.

AOA chairman Ed Anderson said: “Sadly, the Government’s draft aviation policy framework is not an integrated aviation policy which will help boost our airports or the UK economy.

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“We think this is a major error, and it is why we are launching our own policy document to hopefully focus the minds.”

He went on: “The Government has to realise that the aviation industry plays a major role in resolving the ongoing problem of growing the economy - and so we have produced a bold and specifically cross-departmental integrated aviation policy to show what is possible.

“The survey we commissioned to accompany our report clearly shows the support that the vast majority of business leaders and the public have for airports and aviation in general to help boost jobs, exports and inward investment, and to ensure flying remains affordable.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The strength with which the different options are put forward shows precisely why we were right to set up a proper independent review with the timescale to consider fully what is in the country’s interest.

“Maintaining the UK’s status as a leading aviation hub is vital to our economy and history suggests that without an agreed evidence base and a high degree of political consensus, it will not be possible to deliver a lasting solution that is right for the UK.”

A total of 2,097 adults and 500 senior financial decision-makers took part in the survey.

Stansted Airport is backing ‘A Fair Tax On Flying’ campaign, calling on Government to cut APD. APD is a charge levied on all passengers departing UK airports and since its introduction in 1994. The UK is now the most expensive country in the world, says Stansted, currently charging �13 per passenger on short-haul flights and between �65 and �92 on long-haul connections. The average lowest rate from a European country where aviation tax is levied is approximately �4.50.