Loganair chief executive Jonathan Hinkles has said the UK aviation sector needed “tax off for take-off” support from the Treasury to aid its recovery.
Speaking as the Paisley-based regional airline launched its summer 2021 schedule, he called on the UK Government to step in with additional support via a reduction in air passenger duty (APD) for UK internal flights.
Along with trade bodies, Loganair is continuing to lobby for such an alleviation, highlighting how passengers on domestic return trips pay double the tax of those flying out of the UK to European destinations.
Mr Hinkles said: “We’re pleased to announce our summer 2021 schedule, which will protect and enhance the UK’s regional connectivity.
“The earlier launch of our summer schedule is a recognition that there is demand from customers who have deferred travel plans from this summer as a result of the pandemic and who are now waiting to book for next year.
“However, recovery from the pandemic has been incredibly slow and shows every sign of remaining that way.”
Mr Hinkles added: “It is imperative that the government now acts to provide additional support for the sector through an alleviation of air passenger duty and ending double taxation on domestic flights.
“It has helped the housing market with alleviations of stamp duty, the restaurant trade with the Eat Out to Help Out programme and the hospitality sector with VAT cuts.
“Yet aviation has been left behind and continues to suffer deeply from international travel restrictions and the consequent impact on consumer confidence.
“We urgently need a ‘tax off for take off’ equivalent campaign to help the aviation industry through this incredibly difficult recovery.
“Regional airlines and airports play a key part in UK connectivity but won’t continue to exist unless a cohesive support programme from the government, led by the reform of APD, is rapidly introduced.”
Loganair’s summer 2021 schedule sees the introduction of several routes, including services from Scotland to Newquay, Exeter, Jersey and Bergen, in Norway, which Loganair had deferred or suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.