UK tax increases anger airlines

UK Government plans to double airport departure tax have angered airlines which claim that the country will now have the highest rates in Europe.

A departure tax was first announced in the UK budget two years ago, set at ú5 ($8) for flights within Europe and ú10 for other international destinations. In the latest budget, the Government outlined plans to double the tax as from November 1997.

That would leave the maximum charge at UK airports standing at between the equivalent of $17-33 and among the highest in Europe. Norway tops the list at around $22, followed by Belgium at nearly $17, while the European average is $10.

British Airways says that, in the last 1995/6 financial year, it collected ú94 million in tax at the previous level and complains that the high price is affecting traffic.

The Guild of Air Traffic Control Officers, which represents UK controllers, is among those pushing for the tax to be used to fund infrastructure investment.

Source: Flight International