Statement from ABTA:

ABTA today welcomes the British Chamber of Commerce's (BCC) call for the Government to scrap its proposed increase in Air Passenger Duty (APD) and devise a bold and long-term aviation policy, as outlined in the BCC Aviation Report

The report, prepared with the support of local chambers of commerce and which ABTA and the industry fed into, draws a clear link between air connectivity and the UK's economic performance underlining that a lack of a clear aviation policy will hinder growth and job creation.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said:  "We urgently need the Government to set a clear strategy on aviation that supports sustainable growth across the whole of the UK and that meets local and environmental needs.

"This report underlines that aviation is a catalyst for the wider economy. Government restrictions on growth and obstacles to new routes and affordable flying not only hurt the holidaymaker, they hurt manufacturers, retailers and businesses right across the economy."

The importance of new airport capacity in driving economic growth is further highlighted by new research from ABTA[i]. According to the research, nearly a third (29%) of the general public spend in excess of £500 in the UK before going on holiday abroad, on items such as clothing, cosmetics and travel accessories, demonstrating the importance of outbound tourism to the economy.

"As an island nation our regional and international connectivity is vital to our future competitiveness. Many of our airports are operating at close or near to capacity and this is severely limiting growth potential. Our research shows people who go on holiday support the UK economy and it is false logic to assume that by restricting capacity in airports we are keeping the UK consumer pound here," added Tanzer.

The BCC report also echoes concerns voiced by ABTA and the Fair Tax on Flying campaign  (<>)  that aviation taxes are hurting British businesses. UK aviation tax is currently the highest in the world and this report confirms that it is having a damaging effect on the growth of the tourism industry as well as being unfair to the travelling public.

Tanzer added: "Whether it is the need for more aviation capacity or fairer flight taxes the Government ignores these issues at its peril. Aviation is a driver of jobs and growth and this report further underlines that if Britain is to grow Government must find a new deal for aviation."

ABTA set out its views on aviation reform on the 19th October in its response to the Government's initiative to consult on a framework for a sustainable future for aviation. The full response can be read here<>.

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