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IAG says airline Level cannot compete on UK transatlantic routes

Level AThe head of International Airlines Group (IAG) says its new budget subsidiary is not going to be able to fly transatlantic routes. Willie Walsh says unless the Air Passenger Duty (APD) is scrapped it will not be economically feasible for Level to start flying from UK airports other than London to the Americas.

IAG has written to Members of Parliament ahead of a scheduled hike in the APD. In the letter, IAG notes the basic tax will rise by another £3 to £78 on long haul flights on the 1 April. It carries on by saying the new duty will in effect almost double the £88 lead in fare for Level flights.

IAG explains that the only way Level would be able to fly across the Atlantic from secondary UK airports such as Manchester and Birmingham would be if the APD was abolished. The letter added that UK consumers were losing access to the same cheap flights Europeans enjoyed simply because of the punitive tax.

Commenting on the letter, Mr Walsh stated the Chancellor of the Exchequer seemed to have no idea Britain was not on level pegging with other nations due to passengers having to shoulder the burden of sky-high APD. The comment echoed the IAG letter which said it was foolhardy to tax air travel ahead of the forthcoming departure from the EU.

The new £78 APD only applies to economy class tickets. In business and first, the duty will go up from £156 to £172. A small plus is that the new taxes will then be frozen for two years. In addition to Level, IAG is the parent company of British Airways and Iberia and one of the planet’s biggest multinational airlines.

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