Business Travel Tech Talk London, 16 October,
Business Travel Awards Europe, 30 October, JW
3rd Annual Business Travel Intelligence Summit
Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) attempt to deflect some of the costs involved with the imposition of doubled Air Passenger Duty (APD) by the current prime minister when Chancellor of the Exchequer, has been blocked by the High Court.
A judicial review by Mr Justice Stanley Burnton of the Queen”s Bench Division, found that there were no insurmountable legal or administrative difficulties preventing the government from giving tour operators exemption in relation to existing bookings.
In a strongly worded statement, the FTO said it was profoundly disappointed with the judgement and pointed out that there were wider potential international ramifications of the decision. These and other aspects would be considered by the organisation, whose members include First Choice, MyTravel, Thomas Cook and Tui, as grounds for a possible appeal.
The FTO points out that the legitimacy of the industry's objections was reflected in it being granted permission to bring the case.
In essence the FTO argument was that the tax, called by many a stealth tax, did not give the holiday industry sufficient notice of the increase ” against all previous precedents regarding APD ” costing tour operators some ”50m which, unlike airlines, they were unable to build into prices for those already booked to fly.
The FTO statement is very clear in its comment noting that the judge could find no insurmountable legal or administrative difficulties preventing the government from giving tour operators exemption in relation to existing bookings.
”Its decision to ignore the industry's calls for this exemption effectively imposed a major and wholly unexpected financial penalty for the sector to absorb, one which disadvantages it against its many travel and airline industry competitors,” said the FTO in its statement.
”The government also sought to make the case that the doubling of the tax was an environmental measure, but the retrospective imposition of the tax increase on bookings already made, shows that this element of the tax would in no way contribute to the Treasury's stated environmental aims.”