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Manchester Airport unveils video of US$1.4bn development program

Airport operator Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has unveiled a new fly-through video showing how the airport will look in the 10 years following its £1bn (US$1.4bn) investment program.

The video was shown today (February 25) at the opening of the UK Northern Powerhouse Conference, where Ken O’Toole, managing director of Manchester Airport, spoke about the need for change regarding air passenger duty (APD) in the UK. Britain has the highest levels of APD in Europe – more than double the rate seen in Germany, which is passed on to passengers through ticket prices.

O’Toole said, “It is 18 months since the Northern Powerhouse phrase was first coined by George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and some good progress has been made.

“The importance of a strong and vibrant Northern economy is more widely acknowledged than ever before and there can be no doubt there is increased recognition around the world that the North is both an attractive place to visit and to do business with.

“It follows that the government should be doing far more than it is to drive the development of air services, and particularly, new long-haul services across the country.

“One of the key ways it can do this is ensuring UK aviation taxation policy does not make UK airports uncompetitive against our European and world peers, peers that we compete with daily for the limited aircraft that airlines have to deploy.

“Just imagine a Chinese firm hunting for a location for its new European HQ, which will create 500 high value jobs. One great European city has a direct flight and one doesn’t – where will it pick?

“That is the impact of an anti-competitive tax that encourages connectivity in one nation but hinders it in another.”

O’Toole used his speech to propose a reform to APD. He said, “Short of abolishing APD, there’s an opportunity to offer airlines starting new long-haul services an exemption from APD for a period of time, something we’ve referred to as an APD holiday.

“This would, at no direct cost to the Exchequer, provide a huge boost to the competitiveness of UK airports seeking to grow long-haul services, and as a result, strengthen global connections right across the country.”

Watch the video here.

February 25, 2016

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