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Aviation grappling with new taxes and rules: AAPA
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Nov 4, 2011

Aviation will play a key role in global economic recovery but is struggling to cope with new taxes and regulations, the head of Asia's airline association said Friday.

Governments should remember "that aviation is a key contributor to economic recovery and job creation, led by travel and tourism", said Andrew Herdman, director general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

Herdman, speaking at the annual meeting of the 15-member group, said a growing number of governments had announced plans for new taxes and charges.

He cited Britain's "notorious" Air Passenger Duty and German and Austrian ecological travel taxes, and said travellers were also starting to face quasi-visa "travel authorisation" fees.

The United States charged citizens of visa waiver countries $14 to apply for authorisation to travel, while tourism-dependent Sri Lanka had announced a $50 travel authorisation fee on inbound foreigners.

"Taxing the very people who you want to attract as visitors to your country is neither an effective welcome message nor a good way to develop the tourism industry," Herdman said.

Airlines themselves were increasingly subject to "an ever more complex web" of regulatory requirements.

Herdman also said the European Union had "over-reached its authority" with plans for a carbon tax on carriers flying to and from Europe.

Several governments are threatening retaliatory measures. But Herdman said airlines did not want to see a trade war, which would inflict long-lasting damage.

Asia-Pacific airlines now carry a quarter of global passenger traffic and 40 percent of worldwide air freight. The AAPA says global air travel demand is expected to double over the next 15 years, led by growth in the Asia-Pacific.

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Brussels (AFP) Nov 3, 2011
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