‘The priority of the Treasury at present is to ensure macroeconomic stability for the country in the wake of events in the US last week,’ a spokesperson for the Treasury told AccountancyAge.com.
She confirmed that transport secretary Stephen Byers had discussed the issue of taxes with airline leaders yesterday, but said that the main focus of the meeting had been on airline security.
‘The issue of airport taxes is matter for the Budget,’ although she admitted that this could change on a ‘daily basis’.
Calls for the abolition of airport taxes follows a 40% collapse in airline share prices around the world, leaving some of the biggest carriers struggling to survive. More than 40,000 job cuts have been announced across the Atlantic by airlines including US Airways and Continental.
In Britain, jobs have already begun to go, with Virgin Atlantic announcing yesterday that 1,200 employees were to be axed and services to the US and Canada reduced.
Both Sir Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Atlantic and Rod Eddington, the British Airways chief executive have called for airport taxes to go.
Speaking on Sky, Sir Richard said: ‘We believe that airport tax should be got rid of to ensure that the increased costs airlines are paying, such as fuel costs, do not result in airline prices going up.’
Yesterday, the Association of European Airlines said three out of ten passengers had cancelled trips to the US.
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