AOA’s response to Chancellor’s failure to cut APD

The Airport Operators Association, which represents more than 50 UK airports, has responded to the Chancellor’s Budget Statement, which failed to cut Air Passenger Duty (APD).

The association’s Chief Executive, Karen Dee said: “Airports provide the necessary infrastructure for the UK’s international connectivity, with aviation the transport mode of choice for most people travelling to and from the UK and for 40% of the UK’s trade. Boosting that international connectivity through unlocking new destinations will be crucial to achieve the Chancellor’s aim of building the foundations of a stronger, fairer, more global Britain.

“That is why it is a missed opportunity for the Chancellor not to have cut Air Passenger Duty today and instead announcing another rise in line with RPI in 2018/19, on top of the RPI rise from April 2017. The UK’s APD is already one of the highest air taxes in the world. With most of our nearest neighbours either charging nothing or less than half of what the UK levies, APD is a tax on the UK’s global competitiveness and connectivity.

“Halving APD, as the AOA had called for alongside A Fair Tax on Flying campaign partners, would have brought the UK into line with the next highest APD equivalent in the EU, in Germany. It would have encouraged airlines to schedule new routes between the UK and new destinations, including in emerging markets, by making those flights more economically viable. It would also have made boosting capacity on existing routes more attractive.

“Cutting APD will boost the UK’s international connectivity and we urge the Chancellor to take action at the first available opportunity. We also continue to urge the Chancellor to make clear that any cut in any part of the UK would immediately be matched across the rest of the UK.”

Gatwick is busiest station in South East

Gatwick Airport station is the busiest in the South East according to the Office of Rail and Road which has just release estimates of station entries and exits for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016.

Surprise, surprise, Gatwick Airport station is busier than Brighton station, just pipping the South Coast station by 700,000 passengers.

While it will come as no surprise that London has the busiest stations in the UK – Waterloo handled the most passengers in 2015-16 – excluding London stations, Gatwick is the sixth busiest train station in the UK, behind Glasgow Central, Birmingham New Street, Leeds, Manchester Piccadilly, and Edinburgh.

Gatwick rail passengers face severe disruption this Christmas

If you’re planning to travel to Gatwick by train over the Christmas period do be aware you could face severe disruption due to industrial action planned by union members.

In addition to a current overtime ban by members of the ASLEF train drivers union, there will be strikes on the following days affecting Southern and Gatwick Express services:

  • Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 December – RMT conductors’ strike
  • Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 December – ASLEF & RMT drivers’ strike
  • Friday 16 December – ASLEF & RMT drivers’ strike
  • Monday 19 to Tuesday 20 December – RMT conductors’ strike (previously planned for 22-24 December)
  • Saturday 31 December to Monday 2 January – RMT conductors’ strike
  • Monday 9 to Saturday 14 January – ASLEF & RMT drivers’ strike

Southern expects there will be no services operating on drivers’ strike days.

Although other operators’ services will not be affected, trains on these services are expected to be much busier.

The latest information can be found here: http://www.southernrailway.com/your-journey/strike/travel-advice-for-aslef-overtime-ban/

AOA responds to Autumn Statement

The Airport Operators Association (AOA) – the trade association representing UK airports – has issued a statement highlighting its disappointment at the failure of the Chancellor to cut Airport Passenger Duty (APD) in his Autumn Statement.

AOA Chief Executive Darren Caplan said: “It is disappointing that the Chancellor has failed to seize the opportunity to cut Air Passenger Duty today and demonstrate that the UK is open for business by doing so. The UK’s APD is one of the highest air taxes in the world and with our nearest neighbours either charging nothing or less than half of what the UK levies, it harms our global competitiveness.

“The AOA will continue to make the case that APD is unfair on families and is a tax on the UK’s global competitiveness and connectivity. The vast majority of tourism and business travellers, and those visiting friends and family, travel to and from the UK by air, with 40% imports and exports by value carried with them in the belly hold of planes. APD therefore holds the UK back from realising its full economic potential.

“Halving APD would have sent out a signal internationally and encouraged airlines to schedule more routes to the UK and fly more frequently on existing routes, boosting the UK’s connectivity. We urge the Government to cut APD as a matter of urgency and by doing so open up new trading opportunities, including with emerging markets.

“We note that the Government has published a summary of responses to its consultation on how to support regional airports in England from the potential effects of APD devolution but has not announced its preferred course of action. The AOA is clear that a cut in APD anywhere in the UK should be matched, immediately, by a cut everywhere, so that no parts of the country are disadvantaged in any way. We call on the Treasury to publish a plan that sets out how and when this can be delivered.”

The UK is one of only six EU countries that imposes aviation taxes.

M23 Junction 9 roadworks start tonight

Watch out for roadworks taking place this week at Junction 9 on the M23 (Gatwick Airport) .

Overnight tonight (Monday 1 February)

  • From 22:00 until 04:00 tomorrow, Tuesday 2 February: The southbound exit slip at Junction 9 and one lane of the southbound carriageway will be closed.
  • Overnight between 22:00 tonight and 05:00 on Tuesday: The southbound entry slip will be closed

Overnight Tuesday (2 Feb)

  • From 22:00 on Tuesday until 05:00 on Wednesday: There will be lane closures and the northbound entry and exit slip roads will be closed.

From Wednesday 3 until Friday 5 February

  • Between the hours of 22:00 until 06:00: The London-bound exit slip road will be closed.

Signed diversions will be in place for the duration of the roadworks.

Average UK adult will spend 12 days flying in their lifetime

As frightening as it may seem, the average British adult will spend 12 entire days flying during their lifetime; travelling the equivalent distance of almost 7 times around the world. Those from the South East will spend the most time in the air during their adult lives.

In total the average UK adult can expect to spen 306 hours flying to and from holiday destinations. Residents in the South East of the UK are likely to spend the most amount of time flying – perhaps another reason for Gatwick to justify a second runway!

The findings are from an ongoing study into the travel habits of Britons by online travel agency sunshine.co.uk.

2,486 people from around the UK, all of whom were aged 22 and over, took part in the study and answered questions about their holidays and travel experience; particularly in relation to air travel.

Initially, everyone taking part was asked to estimate how long they had spent on flights as a passenger over the past 5 years, including travel to and from holiday destinations (stating ‘0 hours’ if they had not flown at all). The results revealed that the average UK adult spends an average of 6.8 hours per year.

With the average Boeing 747 travelling at 565mph at cruising speed and the average Briton spending 306 hours in the air during their adult life time, this equates to 172,890 miles covered by plane; give or take a little for reduced speeds during take-off and landing. This means they will have travelled the equivalent of almost 7 times around the world, when comparing the distance to the circumference of planet earth.

Those from the South East were revealed as the most likely to spend the highest number of hours in the air during their adult life time, with their past five year average revealed as 61 hours (compared to the 34 hour average); 549 hours over their adult lifetime. Those in the West Midlands had flown for an average of just 12 hours in the last five years; set for 108 hours over the course of their adult lifetime.

Chris Clarkson, Managing Director of sunshine.co.uk, said the following: “The travelling time to and from our holiday destinations soon starts to add up, particularly after a few long haul flights. When we see that we could spend as many as 12 entire days on a plane in our adult lifetime, it just goes to show how important it is to put some thought and research into your bookings; making sure you’re confident in the airline’s ability to deliver a comfortable experience.

“We’d love to do further research into this topic, to see what people do to entertain themselves during all of these hours in the air. When a personal entertainment screen is lacking, it can be quite boring on a flight. However, there’s plenty that can be done to pass the time and make the journey more enjoyable, like playing games and reading a good book!”