Will the proposed hike in APD, clip our wings?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

The British travel industry is up in arms: the Chancellor is expected to raise the Air Passenger Duty (APD) – aka flight tax – by 25 percent in his autumn statement on November 29, and industry insiders are worried that British holidaymakers will subsequently stop flying abroad.

The fears are founded: the UK holiday industry already has the highest tax on flying in the world. Case in point? While a French family of four pays a total of £8 in tax for a return journey in Europe, a British family pays £96. Ouch. Raise the tax by 25 percent and surely we’ll all be holidaying at home next summer, right?

Maybe, but then again, maybe not. Don’t get me wrong: I can’t condone George Osborne’s answer to the question of how to fill the hole in the Treasury’s accounts. Raising the tax isn’t fair on all the honest, hard working Brits who, in the midst of the economic doom and gloom, are arguably more in need of a break, than ever before. The proposed increase in flight tax looks even more outrageous when you consider that flight prices are already set to increase from next year, when airlines will be forced to join the European Emissions Trading Scheme.

However while the hike will undoubtedly hurt, the bottom line is this: it won’t stop me heading off on holiday in 2012. I’ll sacrifice my bi- monthly head of highlights, swap Marks and Spencer’s food hall for Morrisons and walk, rather than take public transport wherever possible. But give up my travel? Never. And, after yet another damp squib of a British summer – the worst in 18 years – I don’t think I’ll be alone, in continuing to take to the skies…

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