Skyscanner boss challenges industry over APD impact

The head of price comparison website Skyscanner has disputed industry concerns about the impact of rising Air Passenger Duty (APD) on demand for long-haul travel.

Skyscanner chief executive Gareth Williams said he was confident fears about APD were misplaced. He said: “According to our data, the APD charges introduced at the end of last year appear to have had little negative impact on searches.
“Destinations which incurred the highest [APD] charges, such as the Caribbean and Singapore, have still seen a significant increase year on year and Australia has actually seen a 43% increase.
“Of course, this may in part be due to competitive pricing by airlines as well as sporting events, such as New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup. Regardless, it shows people are not being put off travelling to these destinations.”

Williams made his remarks as Abta released details of a poll suggesting a majority of MPs oppose further risis in APD. The Treasury is expected to announce an increase in APD next year of double the rate of inflation. Details are anticipated in Chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement in November.

The Skyscanner boss said: “I’ll be interested to see what the final decision is on APD, but judging on what we have seen so far, I don’t think it will have a significant impact.”

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