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Tour operators up in arms at air tax

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The Federation of Tour Operators (FTO), angered by the high level of Air Passenger Duty (APD), has launched a legal challenge to the tax in the courts, which could mean it has to be withdrawn completely, thus depriving the Chancellor of a UK investment.

The tax was doubled at the start of February, so that passengers now have to pay charges ranging from £10 in economy class to £80 for long-distance, first-class trips. This is regarded as UK investment into the Treasury by the Government.

But the FTO maintained that the manner in which the tax was doubled breached the Human Rights Act and added that in its view the Government has no right to charge people to leave UK airports.

The FTO’s position is that the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, part of EU law since 2004, only allows the Government to make charges for providing a service, and that has to be related to the costs incurred.

A Treasury spokesperson responded: “The Government is confident that APD is entirely legal and will robustly defend any challenge in the courts.”




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