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Campaign over airport departure tax

23 March 2011 09:53

British Airways is part of a group campaigning against rises in airport departure tax

British Airways is part of a group campaigning against rises in airport departure tax

Airlines and holiday companies have united in a bid to urge the Government against raising airport departure tax.

Travel organisation Abta is leading the campaign - which is also backed by British Airways and airport operator BAA.

The group has written to Chancellor George Osborne ahead of this month's Budget and launched a Facebook campaign to allow people to offer their support.

Many of those who choose to back the campaign may well be paying off holidays for this year and arranging travel insurance for their trip.

Campaigners say air passenger duty (APD) has risen 26-fold since 1994 and it was increased again last autumn, with those flying to the Caribbean in particular facing steep increases.

Abta has announced the results of a survey of 2,046 adults which showed that 63% believed APD levels were too high, with 21% saying they were about right and only 5% reckoning they were too low.

The organisations say that UK air travellers pay by far the highest levels of flight tax in Europe, with a family of four flying from the UK to Florida paying £240 in APD, while if they fly to Australia they can expect to pay £340.

That compares with £11 for an Irish family flying to the same destinations or £15 for a French family.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: "The Prime Minister has identified tourism as one of the top five industries to drive growth, yet aviation tax has become a punitive stealth tax."