BA Underlines APD Affect…

BRITISH AIRWAYS has announced it will hire fewer new staff next year as a result of the British Government’s planned 8% rise in Air Passenger Duty (APD).
The airline said that the tax rise, due to come into effect in April 2012, means it will hire around 400 rather than 800 staff next year and that it would also “review plans” to bring an extra Boeing 747-400 into service.
Airlines are united in saying that APD should be scrapped, arguing that a rise will damage chances of an economic recovery.
Willie Walsh, boss of BA’s parent company International Airlines Group (IAG), said the damage to the UK’s economy would exceed the revenue raised by the much-criticised tax.
“I believe that this tax is actually doing more harm than good.  I believe the impact on the economy is significantly greater than the tax revenue the chancellor is looking at,” he said.
“That’s why we’ve called for an independent review of APD to fully assess what the negative impact on the economy is.”
Responding to the criticism, a spokesman for the British Prime Minister’s office, said that the Government raised £2.5bn (US$3.9bn) through APD, which was an important aid to dealing with its financial deficit.  The government has consistently said the aviation sector must play its part in reducing the national deficit and restoring the public finances.  A Treasury spokesman said: “It is worth noting that unlike other European countries, the UK does not levy VAT on domestic flights and aviation fuel is not taxed. The aviation industry will also benefit from the cut in corporation tax.”
Next year’s APD changes will mean that private business jet passengers will be subjected to the levy for the first time.
However, at the beginning of last month (November) APD was reduced for direct long-haul flights from Northern Ireland, in response to competition from services in the Irish Republic, which has an Air Travel Tax of just three euros to any destination.

…and Prepares for A380

BRITISH AIRWAYS (BA) has completed the latest phase of a multi-million pound project designed to prepare the carrier for the 2013 delivery of its Airbus A380s.  Completed overnight on November 18, the entrance to the carrier’s 1950s-vintage engineering hangars at London/Heathrow was raised by 11.5ft (3.5m)  to accommodate the taller tail fin of the new ‘Super Jumbo’.  The centrepiece of the modification was a 24-tonne ‘eyebrow’, held in place by almost 2.5 miles (4km) of linear welds.
“This is an important step in converting our hangars ready for our new aircraft arriving in 2013.  It could also allow British Airways to provide maintenance solutions to other A380 customers at Heathrow,” Vance Williamson, BA’s Head of Property Services, said.  “The hangar modifications represent only part of a wider property plan that will ensure that our engineering base remains a world class maintenance facility able to accommodate the very latest aircraft.”  (Photo British Airways)