Sabre Joins A Fair Tax on Flying’s APD Campaign

Sabre, a global technology company, has announced its support today for A Fair Tax on Flying’s campaign calling for reform of the UK’s Air Passenger Duty (APD).  It is the first technology company to officially join the movement.

Elisabeth Martins, Sabre’s commercial director for the UK & Ireland, said: “The constant rises in this stealth tax are harming airlines, leisure and business travelers, and the UK economy as a whole.  The exorbitant levels of APD – higher here than in any other country in the world – are making the UK uncompetitive, and have created a barrier for businesses that rely on international travel to conduct their affairs.  The current system must be reformed if businesses are to be allowed to grow and expand in the current challenging economic climate. Sabre has joined the campaign following the news that more than 450 British business leaders have signed a petition calling for a review of the current system of APD. Businesses can support the campaign by visiting  Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association, said: “It’s great that Sabre has joined the growing number of companies that support A Fair Tax on Flying’s campaign. Sabre’s support is a reflection of the importance of this campaign for all business sectors.  This tax isn’t just damaging to those directly involved in aviation, it has a domino effect on any business that supports the sector or that relies on connectivity.  It is vital that other companies and organisations affected by this unfair tax join the campaign and call on the Government to reform the current system, which is stunting the UK’s economic growth and recovery.” Simon Buck, Chief Executive of BATA has also written this article today welcoming Sabre to A Fair Tax on Flying: More information about APD: ·         In May 2013, the Transport Select Committee said that a fully costed study of how far Air Passenger Duty impacts on the UK economy should be undertaken, and if this provides clear evidence that the duty causes harm to the economy or government revenue, it should be significantly reduced or abolished. ·         200,000 people wrote to their local MP in 2012 calling for the Treasury to undertake a review into the economic impacts of APD. ·         PwC research published in Feb 2013 found that the cutting or abolition of APD would result a) in a significant increase in the UK’s Gross Domestic Product and b) in an increase in the revenues to the Treasury from other taxes as a result of this increased economic stimulus – in other words it would actually pay for itself. ·         The overall APD tax take increased significantly on 1st April 2012 (after the Government implemented an 8% APD increase) with an increase once again from 1st April 2013. Further rises are planned to take effect from 1st April 2014. ·         APD raised £2.8bn in 2012/13. The Office for Budget Responsibility says that APD revenue is projected to be £3.8bn in 2017/18. ·         A ComRes poll (Oct 2012) found that four out of five people want to see Air Passenger Duty cut or frozen. The results come from ComRes research of more than 2,000 people showing that 82% of the public want changes to APD. ·         Over 100 MPs have publicly backed calls for a Treasury-led economic impact assessment of APD – many of them by supporting EDM 174 in the 2012-13 Parliamentary Session, “Air Passenger Duty”. ·         An International Air Transport Association report (Dec 2011) said that “European carriers are by far in the most challenging position. Higher passenger taxes and weak home market economies have limited profitability in Europe.” ·         By the Department for Transport’s own figures, aviation taxes exceed the sector’s environmental costs by over half a billion pounds every year. ·         Many European countries including Belgium, Holland and Denmark have abandoned their aviation taxes, due to the negative effects on their economies. In the longer-term, analysis shows that the UK economy will forego £750m of wealth and 18,000 jobs due to the recent rises in APD (November 2010), with around half the extra revenue raised offset by tax revenue losses in the wider economy (source Oxera, 2009)

a, 2009)

For further information contact: Olly Kendall, Westminster Public Affairs, tel: 07793 224 749 /


Notes to Editors: Sabre Travel Network provides technology services to the travel industry. It operates the world’s largest travel marketplace, connecting travel buyers and sellers through the Sabre global distribution system (GDS).  Its innovative technology connects 350,000 travel agents to more than 400 airlines, 100,000 hotels, 25 car rental brands, 50 rail providers, 13 cruise lines and other global travel suppliers. More than $100 billion of travel is purchased through this marketplace annually. Sabre Travel Network is part of Sabre Holdings, a global travel technology company serving the world’s largest industry- travel and tourism.  For more information please visit: A Fair Tax on Flying campaign A Fair Tax on Flying consists of over 30 leading travel organisations including airlines, airports, trade associations and destinations. More information can be found at and A Fair Tax on Flying campaign members: Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, ABTA – the Travel Association, Airport Operators Association, American Airlines, Association of National Tourist Offices and Representatives, Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, Board of Airline Representatives in the UK, British Airline Pilots’ Association, British Air Transport Association, British Airways, Business West, Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce, Caribbean Council, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, Essex Chamber of Commerce, European Tour Operators Association, Fife Chamber of Commerce, Gatwick Airport, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Guild of Travel Management Companies, Heathrow Airport, Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Manchester Airports Group, Royal Brunei Airlines, Sabre Holdings, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Alliance, TUI Travel PLC, UKinbound, Unite the Union, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Visit USA. Air Passenger Duty – additional information:
  • The current rates of APD (2013-14) are below:


Reduced rate

Standard rate

Band A

(0-2,000 miles*)



Band B

(2,001-4,000 miles)



Band C

(4,001-6,000 miles)



Band D

(over 6,000 miles)



  • Only five other European countries levy some form of air passenger tax.
  • Denmark, Norway, Malta and Holland have all scrapped similar taxes as the revenue raised was outweighed by the damage caused to their economies