Flight tax 'damaging' Kent jobs growth, Manston airport boss claims
Kent International Airport in
by business editor Trevor Sturgess
"Outrageous" hikes in passenger flight tax are hitting job
creation at Manston airport and the wider Kent economy, according
to the terminal's boss.
Charles Buchanan, airport chief executive, has joined four major
UK airlines in criticism of Air Passenger Duty and calling for it
to be scrapped.
An airline-commissioned study on the economic impact of APD
shows abolition could boost the UK economy, generate a net tax gain
for the Treasury and create almost 60,000 jobs.
The study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) says the economy would
benefit by at least £16 billion within three
years of abolition.
It claims revenues from other sources such as income tax
and Vat would rise, airlines would step up investment, and there
would be a boost to tourism and business productivity through more
Mr Buchanan, pictured right, said the tax was
"unrealistically higher" than anywhere else in Europe. Paris, for
example, attracted six times as many Chinese tourists as London,
partly because French visas gave access to other EU countries such
as Italy and Germany, but also because of lower flight taxes.
Manston, which unveils KLM flights to Schiphol in April, could
support 3,000 jobs - 2,000 at the airport and 1,000 in related
activity - if it grew to two million passengers and 160,000
tonnes of freight within eight years. Without APD, those targets
could be achieved sooner, Mr Buchanan said.
"If APD continues to grow at the rate it has been in the past,
then we will continue to suffer and achieving these levels will be
pushed further out," he said. "Taxing at an unacceptable rate
clearly has a negative impact. We have got to the stage where
you’re adding £100 to the cost of a ticket."
He added it was a regressive tax that hit poorer people
harder than the better off.
"I would love to see APD scrapped. But failing that, a
reduction, and failing that, at least held at the current level and
not escalating every year. No more increases. APD has gone up
outrageously. Don't squeeze it too tight. There is a golden egg
there and the goose is struggling."
- Click here for more news from across the county...