Domestic Air Passenger Duty Limits future opportunities

Posted by Paul Cherpeau

Chief Executive

Fri 22nd, Sep

This week Heathrow launched a multi-point vision for the future and initiated a campaign to the government for the elimination of Air Passenger Duty (APD) on domestic flights.

It’s easy to become cynical about the case surrounding the UK’s recognised hub airport. It’s proposed third runway has had so many false dawns that any semblance of progress is greeted with a collective “yeah, right” rather than the anticipation one would expect.

APD is an impediment to domestic air travel. It is levied on the carriage of chargeable passengers from a UK airport on chargeable aircraft. It is calculated based upon distance from London and is split into bands – domestic connections incur a cost of £13 per person in standard class. Such costs are substantial when aggregated upwards and impair the competitiveness of aircraft operating domestic flights and particularly those at airports within close proximity to airports in devolved areas where APD has been waived.

Heathrow’s campaign is important in maintaining the focus of our region upon the support provided for Heathrow’s third runway, made on the contingent basis that regional airport landing slots are provided to the likes of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, providing a direct flight to and from the nation’s capital and times favourable to business.

The Chamber has frequently lobbied and expressed its support for a better transport deal for business, most recently concerning the freight access via road to the Port of Liverpool and rail connectivity across the North. This weeks announcement from the Department for Transport that the next stage of HS2 must contain a provision for Northern Powerhouse Rail was extremely positive.

Yet it is the multi-modal access to and from the City of Liverpool that must be pursued as the end goal. Heathrow expansion may be deemed a disproportionate benefit to the South East but, in our view, it enhances our capacity for transport connectivity to London and global destinations. The latest campaign to tackle the additional costs of APD is a step in the right direction in eliminating our barriers to transport growth and access.

See also: Chamber & LJLA welcome Heathrow Air Passenger Duty Proposal


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