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GDS owner Sabre has become the latest travel firm to join the campaign against the high levels of Air Passenger Duty (APD) in the UK.
Sabre is the first travel technology company to join A Fair Tax on Flying alliance of travel organisations which aims to persuade the government to reduce aviation taxes.
Elisabeth Martins, Sabre’s commercial director for the UK and Ireland, said: “The constant rises in this stealth tax are harming airlines, leisure and business travellers, and the UK economy as a whole.
“The exorbitant levels of APD – higher here than in any other country in the world – are making the UK uncompetitive, and have created a barrier for businesses that rely on international travel to conduct their affairs.”
The treasury led by chancellor George Osborne has so far failed to respond to the industry’s pleas to cut or abolish APD. The tax is scheduled to rise again in April 2014.
Martins added: “We work every day with airlines, hotels, travel agents, cruise lines, train operating companies and travellers, and we see the damage APD is causing.
“I would encourage all businesses affected by the APD to join A Fair Tax on Flying’s campaign, and make their voice heard on the need for a more sustainable system of air passenger tax in the UK.”
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA, which is leading the anti-APD fight, welcomed Sabre’s backing.
“Sabre’s support is a reflection of the importance of this campaign for all business sectors,” said Tanzer. “This tax isn’t just damaging to those directly involved in aviation, it has a domino effect on any business that supports the sector or that relies on connectivity.”
The alliance is urging businesses to sign its online petition against APD – so far more than 500 firms have added their support.