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Transport / Loganair calls for urgent reform of air passenger duty tax

LOGANAIR chief executive Jonathan Hinkles has again called for a reduction in air passenger duty for domestic flights as one way of channelling additional support to the struggling aviation industry.

Announcing the company’s summer 2021 schedule on Wednesday, including the re-introduction of the Sumburgh to Bergen service, Hinkles said further help was needed – particularly where passengers on domestic return trips pay double the tax of those flying out of the UK to European destinations.

Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinkles.Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinkles.

“The earlier launch of our summer schedule is a recognition that there is demand from customers who have deferred travel plans from this summer as a result of the pandemic and who are now waiting to book for next year,” Hinkles said.

“However, recovery from the pandemic has been incredibly slow and shows every sign of remaining that way.

“It is imperative that the government now acts to provide additional support for the sector through an alleviation of Air Passenger Duty and ending of double taxation on domestic flights.”

He said the industry urgently needed a ‘Tax Off For Take Off’ scheme that would mirror government help offered to other struggling sectors.

“It has helped the housing market with alleviations of stamp duty; the restaurant trade with the Eat Out to Help Out programme and the hospitality sector with VAT cuts.

“Yet aviation has been left behind and continues to suffer deeply from international travel restrictions and the consequent impact on consumer confidence.

“We urgently need a ‘Tax Off For Take Off’ equivalent campaign to help the aviation industry through this incredibly difficult recovery.

“Regional airlines and airports play a key part in UK connectivity but won’t continue to exist unless a cohesive support programme from the Government, led by the reform of APD, is rapidly introduced.”

The new 2021 summer schedule sees the introduction of several routes which Loganair had deferred or suspended in Summer 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic including new services from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Aberdeen to Cornwall airport at Newquay.

The Sumburgh to Bergen route will also be reinstated after being off the timetable this summer due to Covid-19 restrictions.