By Ron Howells • 08 September 2021 • 19:35
Ryanair calls on government to axe or suspend Air Passenger Duty
Ryanair has called on the UK government to axe or suspend Air Passenger Duty to help industry recovery.
The chief executive of Europe’s biggest budget airline has called for Air Passenger Duty (APD) to be suspended for two to three years until “traffic levels return to pre-Covid normal.”
“Aviation has been devastated much harder and for much longer than almost any other industry. Most of the airlines and airports have seen a 90 per cent reduction in traffic over the past 12 months. We’re not looking for more subsidies. What we need is incentives to get people back travelling,” said Michael O’Leary, speaking to MPs on the Transport Select Committee.
He called for Air Passenger Duty (APD) to be suspended for two to three years.
Currently, passengers aged 16 or over departing on short-haul flights from UK airports pay £13 in tax.
“APD is the UK government’s principal tax on the aviation sector since tickets are VAT free and aviation fuel incurs no duty. Its primary objective is to ensure that airlines make a fair contribution to the public finances. Revenue raised by APD funds vital public services for people and families across the UK,” said a government spokesman.
The tax raised £3.6bn in 2019-20.
Mr O’Leary said of a temporary suspension: “It wouldn’t go to the airlines, it wouldn’t go to the airports. But by relieving that egregious and regressive tax, particularly on ordinary families, it would enable a very quick return in traffic volumes between the UK and Europe.”
The Ryanair chief executive also warned airfares compared with pre-crisis levels would be higher for the next few years – partly because of airline collapses before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
“As travel continues to grow and consumer confidence in air travel returns, Ryanair once again calls on the UK government to scrap or suspend APD to allow airlines quickly recover connectivity, jobs and tourism in the aftermath of the pandemic.
“APD makes UK airports very uncompetitive versus Europe, where Ryanair continues to add capacity, having opened a number of bases in recent months in the likes of Zagreb, Stockholm, Billund and Riga.
“While Ryanair is committed to the UK and its Birmingham airport, the lack of government support continues to create further barriers to boosting traffic and growths,” said Ryanair commercial director Jason McGuinness.
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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