ABTA is accusing the Government of reducing consumer choice by substantially increasing Air Passenger Duty on Premium Economy seats.
The association says that in many cases, customers who buy Premium Economy tickets do so as they need extra leg room due to their size and can’t afford Business or First Class.
However, these customers will pay the same rate of tax as those flying First Class. Premium Economy has been created by the industry to give customers an affordable alternative to First or Business Class. It allows economy class passengers who might be visiting relatives in long haul destinations such as Australia or the Caribbean affordable comfort.
According to ABTA from November 2010, a family of four travelling to Australia on Premium Economy will have to pay an extra £680 in tax. The UK Government is the only one in the world to tax air passengers in this way and these rises will hit ordinary working families particularly hard as they struggle with the impact of the recession.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said “One of the great successes of the travel industry has been that we have made it possible for hard working families on a budget to head overseas to visit loved ones. Through listening to our customers we have created affordable products, such as Premium Economy, giving them increased choice and comfort. ”
Air Passenger Duty increases from 1/11/09 and 1/11/10. Four geographical bands will come into effect based on the distance from London to the capital city of the country concerned (with the exception of the Russian Federation which is split east and west of the Urals).