The MD’s view – March 2012

Robert MackenzieThe travel industry has always felt that it has had to shout louder than some industries to have their voice heard when it comes to UK government policy. This year has been no exception. I am sure you cannot have missed the clarion call from airlines, tour operators and other sectors of our industry to force the Coalition Government to reverse their decision to increase Air Passenger Duty (APD) by a double-inflation 8%. However, the calls have fallen on deaf ears as the Chancellor in his budget confirmed the increase from 1st April 2012 with a further inflationary increase in a year’s time. Since APD was introduced here in 1994, annual revenue raised by the tax has increased by 250 per cent and this year alone, £2.6bn of holidaymakers’ and business travellers’ money will go to the Treasury.

From our clients’ point of view this tax will increase the cost of flying and in turn holiday and short break prices will be affected. Here in the Channel Islands, we feel disproportionately penalised as passengers flying here from the UK are charged the same APD as someone flying to Athens – which is more than 40 times the distance!

Talking of flying, the long-awaited work on Guernsey Airport’s runway has finally started. As a result the airport was completely closed for 2 days last week. Whilst this must have been lovely for those living near to the airport, we are pleased that there are only a few more days this year when this will be repeated. The end result will also be good news as it will allow bigger, more modern aircraft to land in Guernsey.

Finally, the clocks went forward last weekend and we are now looking forward to Easter – always a popular time for visiting the islands for a long weekend. There’s a lot of late demand coming through, probably driven by the wonderful weather we are currently enjoying. Long may this continue!

Whether you are at home or away this Easter, I hope you enjoy a wonderful long weekend break.

About Robert Mackenzie

Boss of C. I. Travel Group working with a fantastic team of people here in Jersey. I’ve been in the travel industry nearly 30 years and enjoyed every minute of it. Lived in The Channel Islands for half of that time and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
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