Virgin Atlantic turns to customers to say no to rise in APD

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Virgin Atlantic is hoping to get thousands of its customers to support its campaign to halt the Government's proposed rises in air passenger tax.

The airline is launching a "postcard" survey this week in an attempt to consult its customers about the Government's plans to reform the Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax.

The Treasury is in consultation until 17 June about reforming APD.

The Government proposals would raise APD from £12 to up to to £16 per person for flights up to 2,000 miles, as well as reducing the rates and number of tax bands on long-haul flights.

Virgin Atlantic claims that a family of four travelling economy class to Florida currently pays £240 in air passenger tax.

The survey, issued in the form of a postcard, will state why Virgin Atlantic wants to hear from its passengers, how much APD they will have paid on their journey, and will ask consumers three questions about the tax.

It will target Virgin Atlantic passengers leaving Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports between 3 June and 9 June. Virgin Atlantic staff and crew will also receive postcards to fill out.

Participants can drop the postcards in a red box at the airport terminal or hand it in at the end of their flight.

Virgin Atlantic aims to include its passengers’ views about the tax in its official response to the Government consultation on APD.

Julie Southern, chief commercial officer Virgin Atlantic, said: "We want our submission to this consultation to speak for the thousands of passengers who travel with us every day, so we are taking this opportunity to engage with them to find out what they think.

"This is a great chance for our customers to make their voices heard in a quick and simple way, rather than via the Treasury’s inaccessible 49-page, online consultation document.

"With the economy rate of APD to America having already tripled in the last five years, we expect that passengers will welcome this opportunity to state a case for no further rises."

In March, British Airways and Lastminute.com were among the brands supporting a campaign for a 'Fair Tax on Flying', which has prompted more than 25 travel companies to lobby the Government in a bid to halt aviation tax rises.

In this year's Budget, the Government announced a freeze on the tax for the next year, after which APD is set to rise from a total of £2.2bn last year, to £3.6bn in 2016.

Last month, easyJet launched its own campaign called 'Tax planes, not people', in which it claimed further rises to APD would cause damage to the UK economy and the tourism industry.

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