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Flybe calls on UK govt to freeze flight tax

Monday 20 Apr 2009 8:00am

Low-cost airline Flybe has called on the British government to follow the example set by the Dutch government and freeze air passenger duty (APD). Last week, the Dutch government announced that it intended to scrap the APD on flights after it was found that the country's airports have been losing passengers to cheaper airports in the neighbouring countries of Germany and Belgium. Flybe conceded that APD is unlikely to be abolished in the UK, but made an appeal to Alastair Darling, the chancellor, to reconsider current budgetary plans to increase the tax. Flybe's chief commercial officer, Mike Rutter, said: 'Flybe is not innocent enough to think that the UK government will follow the Dutch lead and abolish APD but we certainly think there is a case for them to put on ice the planned November rise in APD. 'Such a move would be a tangible stimulus to the British economy and send out a very clear message that the government cares about industries other than just the banking sector. ' Rival budget airline EasyJet also welcomed the Dutch government's abolition of APD, claiming that it was 'the right thing' to do to secure the aviation industry's future in the Netherlands. However, the airline also pointed out that even without the added expense of APD, Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is ranked the second most expensive hub in Europe - pricier than airports in Paris, Frankfurt and Zurich - and should reduce its tariffs to avoid losing the business of passengers and airlines.

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