IT appears that the coalition government in the UK is prepared to sit down with the travel industry and look at alternatives to the highly controversial and unpopular APD, AIR Passenger Duty.

The Association of British Travel Agents, ABTA, said yesterday that it welcomes the news that the new coalition Government has agreed to adopt a per plane tax. ABTA's Manifesto launched on 10 March outlined the need for the reform of Air Passenger Duty on a per plane rather than a per passenger basis. However, ABTA is calling on the Government to rethink its policy to scrap permission for a third runway at Heathrow and new runways at Stansted and Gatwick.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “We have always stated that the travel industry should be taxed fairly and that a system more closely aligned to the efficiency of aircraft and distance travelled is the fairest way to achieve this, and we welcome the Government's move to adopt a per plane tax. However the amount of this taxation must not be set at a punitive level and when the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme comes into force in 2012 it should be scrapped. “Before the Government makes final decisions about individual airports it needs to consider the overall capacity needs of the UK. Banning any airport expansion will severely damage UK PLC without significant environmental benefits as air traffic will simply migrate to our competitors on the continent”.