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ExCeL London - 24-25 February 2021
Flybe’s boss has called for Air Passenger Duty to be cut at the UK’s regional airports and increased at Heathrow and Gatwick.
Saad Hammad, who is CEO of the regional carrier, has written to chancellor George Osborne to make his case for a change of policy on the aviation tax which was now “a matter of urgency” following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union last month.
Hammad said that APD on domestic and regional flights was acting as a “very real stranglehold” that was “curbing the growth of regional economies” in his letter.
“Flybe firmly believes that APD could be amended in a fiscally neutral manner to deliver an economic benefit to the UK regions - a stated aim of the government,” said Hammad.
“This could be achieved by lowering the levy at regional airports by 50 per cent in line with what is being planned in Scotland, funding it through an increase at the large, slot-constrained airports in London such as Heathrow and Gatwick.”
Hammad said that APD was having a “disproportionate impact” on regional flights as passengers were paying up to 19 times more tax per mile compared with long-haul travellers.
“It would provide a more level playing field between regional and international travellers and assist the development of regional airports and economies, particularly in light of the uncertainty after the referendum vote to leave the EU,” he added.