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Call for tax changes to keep airports running
THE public want lower airport taxes and companies desire more Government support for aviation, according to a survey out today (Monday, October 19).
As many as 82 per cent of the public want the Air Passenger Duty (APD) airport departure tax cut or frozen by Chancellor George Osborne.
While more than three in four businesses believe that it is more important than ever that the Government supports the aviation industry to help deliver its growth and jobs agenda.
The results from the survey come just days after the owners of Durham Tees Valley Airport found out it had failed to secure funding from the latest round of government's flagship growth fund for a project to transform the airport into a major freight operation.
Today, the results of the survey were welcomed by Peter Nears, strategic planning director for the Peel Group, which owns the airport.
The polls were commissioned by the Airport Operators Association (AOA) as it launched its own integrated policy for UK aviation.
The AOA’s policy paper sets out 25 key recommendations to Government which would boost aviation and help bring about more jobs, business and economic growth to benefit the whole of the UK.
AOA chairman Ed Anderson said: “Sadly, the Government’s draft aviation policy framework is not an integrated aviation policy which will help boost our airports or the UK economy.
“We think this is a major error, and it is why we are launching our own policy document to hopefully focus the minds.”
A total of 2,097 adults and 500 senior financial decision-makers took part in the survey.
Mr Nears said: “The call from the AOA for consistency in Government policy is particularly important for airports such as Durham Tees Valley and has been illustrated by our recent experiences where messages from Government Ministers have indicated their understanding of the need to support regional airports and yet this has not been reflected in the decision to withhold Regional Growth Fund support for our southside project when we have made clear its importance.
“The association underlines the fact that connectivity is vital for the UK economy and this is critical for areas such as the Tees Valley where so many companies compete in international markets and many local people depend on air connections to reach their workplaces…a message underlined in the last few days by those interviewed by The Northern Echo.”
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The strength with which the different options are put forward shows precisely why we were right to set up a proper independent review with the timescale to consider fully what is in the country’s interest.”