Tax hits UK airports

AIRLINEShave cancelled more routes out of London than any other city in Europe as a direct result of the British government&rsquo;s Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax, according to figures released by insurers.<br /><br />APD will rise from &pound;10 to &pound;11 in November and industry insiders are worried it could add to the 76 routes already cancelled since March last year.<br /><br />Michael O&rsquo;Leary, Ryanair chief executive, has launched several vicious attacks on the tax and halted the budget airline&rsquo;s UK expansion plans in protest.<br /><br />&ldquo;Gordon Brown&rsquo;s &pound;10 tourist tax will see Britain lose over 10 million passengers, 10,000 airport jobs and more than &pound;2.5 bn in tourism spend in the UK this year alone,&rdquo; he said in June.<br /><br />O&rsquo;Leary has called on the British Government to scrap the tax in order to save any further embarrassment and said Ryanair would instead invest in countries that welcome low cost airlines.&nbsp;&nbsp; <br /><br />&ldquo;The government should follow the example of their Belgian, Dutch, Greek and Spanish counterparts by immediately scrapping this stupid and regressive tourist tax to avoid any further devastation to British tourism and jobs,&rdquo; he added.<br /><br />According to reports, Gordon Brown is worried about the impact of Air Passenger Duty on the airline industry but Alistair Darling believes it is necessary to help pay for the rescue of banks like Northern Rock.