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Regional airports across the UK, including Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA), have today signed a joint letter urging the Government to revise aviation taxes in recognition that the current Air Passenger Duty (APD) has a damaging and disproportionate impact on the regions across the UK.

Airport owners Peel Airports, is due to submit its detailed response to an HM Treasury consultation on Reform of Air Passenger Duty later this week highlighting the impact that the current aviation taxation system has on its business and serious concerns over the prospect of ‘double taxation’ and further increases in flying taxes when aviation enters the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in 2012.

As part of this response however, a group of regional airports across the UK are also proposing that the Government abandon the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to aviation taxes and replace it with a charge on the busiest airports, as defined by ACL, the recognised UK slot coordination authority.

APD in the UK is already up to 8.5 times more than the European average. Many European countries have either already abandoned their aviation taxes, or indicated that they will do so, due to the negative effects on their economies. It is now very difficult for regional airports in the UK to attract airlines to commence new services, which in turn impacts on the local economy, jobs and inward investment.

The tax disproportionately affects airports outside of London’s Heathrow and Gatwick and regional airports have been hit the hardest by the economic downturn. Without decisive action, the gap between the largest London airports and those in the regions will go on increasing.

Craig Richmond CEO of Peel Airports commented, "Reform of the current APD is essential to help UK airports be more competitive against our European rivals and to stimulate passenger demand during what continues to be one of the most challenging economic environments that our industry has ever experienced.

If the Government is committed to constraining the growth of the congested London airports and prefers to see regional airports take up this capacity, then the proposal put forward by a number of regional airports including Liverpool, to replace APD with a charge on the busiest airports needs to be seriously considered."

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