Virgin Atlantic’s chief commercial officer has branded the latest round of increases in air passenger taxes as “completely unacceptable”.
APD will go up by as much as £14 for some passengers next April, from £170 to £184 per journey of 6,000 miles or more in a premium class.
The increase in the tax will be imposed on all passengers, regardless of whether they have already booked their tickets.
This means airlines face the choice of trying to get extra money out of passengers who have already paid for their tickets, or pay the difference themselves.
Julie Southern said it was “completely unacceptable that millions of passengers now face an additional tax bill on tickets they have already paid for”.
She called APD a “stealth tax”, questioning why the treasury thinks it is acceptable to retrospectively charge airline passengers.
“People would never be expected to pay extra duty for the petrol already sitting in their cars or wine sitting in their fridge,” she said.
“If the Chancellor really was focused on economic growth he would have abolished Air Passenger Duty, not made the world’s highest air passenger tax even higher.”
Southern’s sentiments were echoed by Mike Carrivick, CEO of BAR UK, whose members include Virgin Atlantic and British Airways.
Carrivick said the chancellor’s decision to increase APD “is a retrograde step for the UK economy and will be devastating for the travel industry”.
He added: “Air travellers are being milked yet again and used as a soft target to prop up Treasury coffers.
“This announcement is completely at odds with the chancellor's wish to invest in the transport infrastructure. No increase is justified, this action demonstrates the continued discrimination against air travellers.”
Full details of the new APD charges from April 2012 can be seen in the panel below: