Survey shows U.K. departure tax hurting demand

By Gay Nagle Myers
Air traffic from the majority of airports in the U.K. will decrease in 2013-2014 if the government increases its departure tax by 2.5% in April, according to a survey of 26 U.K. airports conducted by the Airports Operators Association.

The tax, commonly known as the Air Passenger Duty, has increased 225% since 2006 for U.S. flights. Increases have been implemented in four of the past six years.

The government was expected to confirm another increase on Dec. 4, set to take effect in April.

The survey revealed that one in four airports forecast a decrease of more than 5% in passenger traffic as a result of the latest rise in the tax.

Another one in four airports said passenger numbers would fall by between 2% and 5%.

Seventy-three percent of airports said they are "very worried" by the government's planned increase, and 83% said that "current levels are impacting a carrier's decision to fly from specific airports."

Flights from Glasgow to London Stansted, Dublin, Shannon, Gothenburg, Oslo and Stockholm have been lost or severely affected by the rising tax, according to the survey.

Pressure grows for the U.K. treasury to commission an impact-assessment study of the tax, which since 2006 has increased 225% for U.S. flights.
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