Relief at UK air cargo tax freeze

THE UK’s forwarders and aviation industry breathed a sigh of relief this week when the government decided not to increase air passenger duty (APD), which would have had knock-on effects to air cargo costs.

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) cautiously welcomed the UK government’s decision. However, Peter Quantrill, BIFA’s director general added: “I’m still not sure that yesterday’s budget showed that those in government fully appreciate and value the essential role of the freight forwarding industry.”

That the government was even planning on introducing the APD was news to many.

Simon Buck, chief executive officer the British Air Transport Association, whose members include British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, said they were surprised. “What increase do they mean? We never knew that there was due to be a rise. It is spin [propaganda] to claim that it has been deferred.”

Christopher Snelling, the Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) head of supply chain policy said the only reason the government did not go through with the tax rise was that it would have been illegal under international law. Even so, he recognised that it was “good news” and that it will “relieve some of the pressure on businesses reliant on airfreight, particularly in the manufacturing sector”.

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