UK Airline Passenger Tax Remains For Now

The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) is now looking at how else the UK’s Airline Passenger Duty (APD) can be fought, now that the new government in Britain has put off a decision on changing it.

It was expected that the announcement of the replacement of the APD with a per plane duty – a promise made by the new coalition government of David Cameron – would have been made during the budget presentation on Tuesday. But the controversial tax remains untouched, which means that not only will it stay in place for now, but an increase in November appears set to go ahead.

And CTO Chairman John Maginley, who’s also Antigua and Barbuda’s Tourism Minister, says regional countries would have to take the matter further.

“It’s clear that because our economies are so heavily reliant on tourism this tax is effectively a tax on our countries’ exports. We’ll be reviewing the position with organisations such as the World Trade Organisation,” he said, adding that the tax is also unfair to many families in the Caribbean community in the UK who travel frequently to the region.

Maginley said that while the Caribbean understands that the British government needs tax revenue, the current structure of the APD is “unfair and unbalanced”.

Under the APD system, countries are placed into one of four bands, depending on the distance of their capital city from London.

All Caribbean countries have been placed in the third highest band, so a passenger leaving a UK airport in Economy Class would pay an APD of £50 (US$75). In November, that will go up to £75 (US$112).

www.caribbean360.com

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