Rise in air travel tax puts airports at risk - Birmingham,Leeds Bradford,Manchester Airport News

Airport news for Birmingham,Leeds Bradford,Manchester on 20/04/2009.

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A letter was sent this past week to Geoff Hoon, the transport secretary, by the Airport Operators Association (AOA), on behalf of the 72 airports in Britain it represents, issuing a warning that increasing airport taxes and the costs of policing the facilities – as well as installing new radar systems – could have serious financial impact on regional airports in the current economic downturn.

Telegraph Travel, which reported seeing a copy of the AOA letter, indicated that the association is predicting the disappearance of one in 10 routes by the end of this year, and that many regional airports will experience major losses – with some likely going out of business.

The association is also anticipating that up to 25 per cent of airport workers will face redundancy and that airport investment programmes will be cut by as much as 50 per cent.

“The aviation industry is facing a difficult economic climate. Falling demand has resulted in the withdrawal of air services and the collapse of airlines. The forthcoming increases in Air Passenger Duty (APD), and new costs for airport policing and the use of radio spectrum [radar systems] will place airports under significant pressure,” said the AOA chairman, Ed Anderson.

He went on to say: “It seems perverse that during a recession the Government is pressing ahead with tax increases that would further depress demand.”

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