Loganair boss calls for change in APD rules | Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
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Loganair boss calls for change in APD rules

Loganair chief executive Jonathan Hinkles this week told delegates at a special Chamber webinar that the aviation industry was pressing hard for a review of Air Passenger Duty (APD).                                                                                                

He said that, under the present APD rules, domestic travellers are being taxed twice on return journeys within the UK – whereas those travelling to destinations in the UK from countries outside are taxed only once.

Jonathan added this would boost the staycation market and urged the UK Government to move swiftly to reform the system if the Brexit transition period ends in January. He said APD reform has the potential be “one good thing” to come out of the Brexit saga.

While he welcomed the commitment given by the Scottish tourism industry to reopen on July 15, emphasising its importance for giving an “aiming point” for business and travellers, he said it was too early to say whether there were signs of a meaningful recovery in bookings.

On the Job Retention Scheme, Jonathan said the company had made “extensive use” of furloughing and kept 22 of its 44 aircraft in operation to maintain essential services to island communities.

Asked what government could do more to support the industry, he said it was vital to allow the furlough scheme to be extended into the winter to avoid further redundancies in the aviation industry.

He added: “Winter is always a tough place in the airline industry. This winter is going to be tougher, darker and longer than any we have ever seen before.”

Loganair has split its 850 staff into two groups, working on a “month on, month off” basis during the COVID-19 crisis.

Jonathan said Loganair’s picking up some of the routes formerly served by failed airline Flybe, such as Glasgow and Edinburgh to Southampton and Glasgow to Belfast City, had helped it avoid making heavy redundancies.

He added: “I regard ourselves as fortunate at someone else’s expense, I make no bones about that. That is a path we are able to take because it is open to us, and it is one that we will gladly take to keep Loganair strong, stable and solid.”

Asked what government could do more to support the industry, he said it was vital to allow the furlough scheme to be extended into the winter to avoid further redundancies in the aviation industry.

“Winter is always a tough place in the airline industry,” he said. “This winter is going to be tougher, darker and longer than any we have ever seen before.”

Jonathan’s webinar talk is able to viewed here.

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