EUROPE/CIS: UK backs down on controversial air tax

The UK air cargo industry breathed a collective sigh of relief last month when the UK government decided not to increase the proposed, and highly controversial, air passenger duty (APD), which would have had knock-on effects to air cargo costs. The government decided not to replace air passenger duty with a per-plane tax – ostensibly […]


The UK air cargo industry breathed a collective sigh of relief last month when the UK government decided not to increase the proposed, and highly controversial, air passenger duty (APD), which would have had knock-on effects to air cargo costs. The government decided not to replace air passenger duty with a per-plane tax – ostensibly aimed at offsetting carbon emissions – which would have meant freighter operators also paying the tax. The British International Freight Association (BIFA) welcomed the UK government’s decision, but BIFA’s director general Peter Quantrill, added: “I’m still not sure that yesterday’s budget showed that those in government fully appreciate and value the essential role of the freight forwarding industry.” The Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) head of supply chain policy, Christopher Snelling said the only reason the government did not go through with the tax rise was that it would have been illegal under international law, but added that it was none-the-less “good news” and that it will “relieve some of the pressure on businesses reliant on airfreight, particularly in the manufacturing sector”. Noting the importance of the sector to the UK economy, Snelling said: “By value alone it accounts for a quarter of all imported goods moved in the UK. Replacing air passenger duty in this way would only have served to push business away from our airports and towards those on the Continent, while saving nothing in emissions.”