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Flybe CEO Proposes Halving Passenger Fee at Britain’s Regional Airports

As the fallout from Brexit continues, the head of Flybe has asked the nation’s chancellor to consider restructuring exactly how this tax is levied at Britain’s airports.

Flybe CEO Saad Hammad has called for the Air Passenger Duty (APD) at Britain’s regional airports to be reduced by half, a move that he believes could be funded by increasing taxes at the nation’s busier London hubs.

In a letter to George Osborne, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, the head of the low-cost carrier said that the matter of APD was now “critical” following the EU referendum. Hammad was quoted in TravelMole as saying, “We are beginning to see turmoil in our financial markets and our economy under threat of serious and lasting damage.”

Broaching the possibility of Scotland’s independence, Hammad added that the nation’s treasury had yet to discuss, “the options for supporting English regional airports against the impacts of (Scottish) APD devolution.”

He went on to say that, “Now is surely the time to address this issue, particularly with the Scottish Government pressing ahead with plans for a 50 percent reduction in Air Passenger Duty.”

In the past, Britain’s Treasury has shied away from abolishing APD, but Hammad proposed that the tax be levied differently, in a manner that he says would be more beneficial to the country’s regional airports.

This benefit, he explained, “could be achieved by lowering the levy at regional airports by 50 percent in line with what is being planned in Scotland, funding it through an increase at the large, slot-constrained airports in London such as Heathrow and Gatwick.”

Given the high numbers of passengers passing through these airports, Hammad believes that this rise would have minimal impact on individual travelers.

This proposal, he says, would ensure development of the country’s regional airports and, “would also remove potential market distortions and risks of unfairness on passengers in England from APD devolution and reduction in Scotland and Wales.”

Finally, Hammad believes that the proposal could act as a sweetener with regards to the on-going tussle over runway space at London’s airports. He explained that his plan, “would provide an economic incentive for the immediate use of spare runway capacity available today at regional airports neighboring London such as Birmingham Airport.”

[Photo: Flybe]

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dvs7310 July 7, 2016

Laughable! APD for premium cabins (including premium economy) is already ridiculous from UK airports. Increasing APD even further from LHR would only further encourage me to avoid buying long haul tickets originating in the UK. As it is now, many of your EU neighbors have significant enough cost advantage that its often worth buying a very cheap economy one-way to another country then starting a long haul business class ticket there.

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telabadmanwot July 6, 2016

"regional airports neighboring London such as Birmingham Airport.” Brum is nowhere near London