Is the end of APD in sight?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
Cardiff Airport could attract passengers from England if APD is cut

Cardiff Airport could attract passengers from England if APD is cut

No, this isn’t an April Fool story, I genuinely think that the end of APD will occur in the next few years. Why?

In Scotland a twelve week consultation is underway to discuss the halving of APD now that the power to control this tax has devolved to Scotland. The aim is to do this in April 2018.The SNP government wants to abolish it altogether. The Welsh government has also had APD devolved to it and in Northern Ireland it has already reduced APD so that it can compete with the south where no such tax remains.

When Scotland cuts APD in half, the English airport most affected will be Newcastle. Canny locals will book flights from Edinburgh to save the money which could amount to £73 for two people. That more than covers the rail fare or petrol and parking at Edinburgh or Glasgow airports. But Manchester Airport will be hit as well. It can cost between £12 and £38 per person to get there and its only just over 220 miles by road so again, there is a saving to be made. If Manchester Airport is affected so is Leeds-Bradford, Durham-Tees Valley, Robin Hood and Humberside.

The Welsh government owns Cardiff International Airport and has said wants to get APD which, will encourage more passengers. The biggest impact will be on Bristol Airport. That airport says that 1,500 jobs and £800 million will be lost from the local economy if Wales cuts APD. But Birmingham Airport will be affected as it is just over 110 miles from Cardiff. Already Birmingham takes huge slews of Welsh based passengers on its flights. Heathrow is only 136 miles from Cardiff so it could be affected as well.

If nine major English airports will feel the cold if APD is reduced, how long will it be before political pressure turns on the government? Suddenly the £3 or £4 billion raised by APD will seem small and the Treasury will find another way to find the tax.

After all the hand-wringing by airlines and the travel industry about how detrimental APD is, the government has probably brought about the taxes own demise – just by devolving responsibility. And that’s good news for us passengers.

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