The 180 degree turn

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Wind the clock two years back and the clamour was that airport passenger taxes (APD) were stifling tourism growth. Northern Ireland claimed that it was at an unfair disadvantage because Ireland had removed its taxes. Scotland wanted control of APD over the border and it included a manifesto pledge saying it would abolish it. Wales lobbied for it to have similar control and its government also wanted to reduce it to encourage people to fly from Cardiff rather than travel to Bristol, Birmingham or Gatwick.

Cuts in APD are probably not on the cards now a u turn has taken place by governments

The fashion now is that climate change has altered all thinking and that the tax had better stay in order to suggest to people that they should reduce their flying habits.

Ken Skates, the Welsh minister responsible for transport, infrastructure and the economy said on Tuesday last that APD would only be cut in Wales if it encouraged passengers to fly from Cardiff but  and therefore, increased carbon emissions from more flights would have to be “offset” by shorter car journeys.

Frankly both politicians and airports in Great Britain are happy with this heightened emphasis on climate change.

For politicians it means they can justify keeping APD and retain all the revenue it brings in since they can now scream climate change at any tourist boss that demands it be cut for economic and growth reasons.

For airports it means that the fear of an un-level playing field is probably removed so that those airports close to Scotland will probably not lose passengers to Scottish airports which might have had a lower APD rate and a similar relief is probably being felt by Bristol Airport which released a long document some time ago pointing out that Bristol could suffer almost catastrophically from a cut in APD in Wales.

The people who thought they were onto a winner – tourism bosses – have had the tables turned on them by this 180 degree change by governments. As have passengers who might have felt that APD reductions might reduce fares.

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