Friday 22 October 2010

Summer swallow or Autumn squalls?

British airline passengers have apparently regained their zest for travel.

According to the British Airports Authority, passengers who travelled through the six airports they control show an increase in September of 3.3% over the same month in 2009.

Heathrow did much better, posting a passenger increase of 7.6%.

Heathrow's passengers to Brazil grew by 27.1%, to Russia by 23.7% and China by 10.3%.
Travellers to North America from Heathrow grew by 6.5 % compared to an overall BAA traffic count of 5.1%.

Clearly all travel, both on scheduled and charter flights, have shown growth in September and BAA put this down to: consolidation after the end of the recession, re-instatement of flights and increases in business travel.

‘One swallow does not a summer make’ is a quotation to bear in mind, even in the autumn. Attempts to cut the UK's financial deficit and ongoing problems with the banks are still raising fears of a double dip recession.

And then there is the certain impact of the increase in the airline passenger duty that will come into effect next month.

For travellers to the Caribbean, Southern Africa and the Far East, economy passengers will pay £75 instead of £50 and the original £20 charged in 2006.
Premium travellers will now pay £150, a huge rise from the £40 first imposed in 2006.

British tourists to the Caribbean have fallen by as much as 25% and this is very bad news. Alan de Chastenet, St.Lucia's minister for Tourism is reported to have said that tourism contributed 64% of the Island's GDP, 70% of tax revenues and 85% of its foreign exchange income.

Don't expect any improvement when the tax is possibly changed to airline flights instead of per passenger. APD will generate £3.8 billion of annual revenues in aviation taxes by 2015.

The Chancellor will not accept less.

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