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Stakeholders welcome APD reform
T&T’s High Commissioner to London Garvin Nicholas has welcomed plans announced by UK Chancellor George Osborne for a reform of that country’s Air Passenger Duty (APD). The change to the APD banding rules means that all long-haul flights will now carry the same tax. “This is indeed a major achievement not only for our Caribbean travel and tourism industry, but for diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and the Caribbean,” said Nicholas who had lobbied various UK parliamentary members to address the inequity of the APD, particularly via the T&T All-Party Parliamentary Group.
He had also partnered with several other Caribbean High Commissioners to contest the increase. A significant turning point occurred at the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka when the High Commissioners successfully put the APD issue on the agenda. This led to a promise from British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague to Caricom foreign ministers and High Commissioners to address the matter in this year’s budget. The APD system saw flights from the UK to the Caribbean being taxed at a higher rate than flights to other destinations such as Hawaii in the United States. Under the reformed system, flights from the UK to the Caribbean will now be taxed at £240 instead of £300. The change will take effect from April 1, 2015.