By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
FLYING from the UK to Spain, or elsewhere for that matter, is going to be more expensive from today because the British government is putting up the highly controversial and unpopular Air Passenger Duty. And it will be going up again in November next year.

Even before the recession hit, the travel industry was advising the government against any APD increases but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears and the industry, in particular the struggling airlines sector is furious.

This winter here in the Balearics, for example, we are seeing airlines postponing a host of non-financially viable routes between the UK and the region because of the lack of demand.

CAMPAIGNING

The Association of British Travel Agents ABTA, which has been actively campaigning against the hike in APD, now fears that further routes could be lost.

ABTA fears the APD increase may lead to many hard pressed airlines reconsidering their routes out of regional airports as well as raising the cost of holidays for families and others on tight budgets. If flights to local airports are axed businesses may be forced to relocate to areas with better transport connections which will put even more pressure on jobs as Britain struggles through the recession and second home owners overseas may also be hit.

Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said “Regional airports are very vulnerable to the negative effect of the Government's planned APD increases. “We urge the Government to rethink these increases as they will place even more pressure on parts of the country already struggling with the worst recession in living memory.”

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