Aviation bosses say UK industry is in ‘jeopardy’

Aviation bosses say UK industry is in ‘jeopardy’

The aviation industry has heavily criticised the UK coalition government for creating the biggest threat to business growth in Europe. Debating the government’s new Airport Passenger Duty (APD) at an airline seminar at WTM in London yesterday, chiefs from BAA, Emirates, Aer Lingus, Birmingham Airport and Pegasus Airlines unanimously agreed that the inflated tax hike would have a detrimental effect on the UK and European travel trade. “The affordability and the amount of passengers is being jeopardised,” criticised Stephen Kavenagh, chief commercial officer with Aer Lingus. “I just think that bad decisions are being made. It’s the biggest threat to the short haul business in Europe.” Colin Matthews, the chief executive officer of BAA, added: “The leisure market in the UK continues to be a very difficult area reflected by the spending cuts and the big increase in APD. The benefits of aviation are taken for granted and our economic value should not be forgotten. This is about raising revenue and not about an environmental tax.” Meanwhile, in light of the recent tax rises, the industry panel admitted it was very concerned that the battle to win key emerging markets may already be lost. “In the end, we may get to the point where we can see a measurable decline in travel to the UK for Emirates and this will be something we will have to address,” said Tim Clark, president of Emirates. BAA’s Matthews added that a key testing point would be to measure the expected rise in arrivals from China. “For the Chinese visitor, it will now be three times cheaper, in terms of tax, to visit France,” he added. “How will this affect the UK market?”

Gary Marshall
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Gary Marshall
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