Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Willie Walsh lambasts PM over lack of aviation policy

Willie Walsh, the chairman of IAG, last night went on the offensive to David Cameron for having 'no policy on aviation.'

Mr. Walsh is particularly upset that British Airports are being overtaken by foreign competitors due to our inhibitive aviation taxes. Britain's Air Passenger Duty tax has been raised at twice the rate of inflation which makes it the highest taxed aviation industry in the world.

Going further with his criticism, Willie Walsh said: "When Cameron went to China, he said we need to establish trade links and announced a Rolls-Royce deal worth £740m for engines to a China Eastern airline. But while he rightly praises Rolls-Royce, he fails to recognise that Rolls-Royce's success and growth is on the back of China's investment in aviation. The Chinese see aviation as a building block of growth. But this government has no policy on aviation. Cameron will not even acknowledge the link between Rolls-Royce and British aviation (it is as if one is divorced from the other)."

"China has built 45 airports and, by 2020, it will have built a further 52. Or look at the Middle East: Dubai was 99th in the league table of world airports; last year it was 14th; today it is 4th and, by 2014, it will leapfrog Heathrow for the No 1 slot. China, Dubai, Brazil – wherever you look, they are taking advantage of our lack of ambition. These economies are investing in aviation the way the Victorians invested in railways."

The airlines chief goes on to make a comparitive costs of a family of four flying in economy to Australia before and after the potential tax rise. Current taxes would see the family pay £680 in APD but in 2015 would be required to pay £979 if the taxes increases were put in place. There are no taxes in place for people flying from China and the Middle East and these countries are seen to be growing at the fastest rate. Countries such as Holland, Denmark and Norway are countries which imposed aviation taxes and subsequently scrapped them due to the damage they caused to their economies.

Take the hint Mr. Cameron!

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