Somebody deserves a hug at Virgin Atlantic! The company has announced that it will absorb the cost of the ridiculous Air Passenger Duty (APD) imposed by the British government, which Caribbean leaders was certain would damage their countries’ tourism sectors.
The APD has been a most troubling issue since its announcement and it is clear now that Caribbean governments were not the only ones concerned. Virgin’s CEO Steve Ridgway called the tax an “unfair retrospective” increase to passengers, as he communicated the company’s plan to absorb it.
“We have been placed in the invidious position of either being forced to go back and ask those passengers for more passenger interests or absorb the costs ourselves,” he wrote. “We pride ourselves on defending and championing passenger interests, so we have taken the costly decision to shield our affected passengers from a tax surcharge.”
In case you don’t know how big a deal this is, just consider the fact that “As of April 1, the APD means British travelers to the Caribbean will pay approximately $257 extra per ticket, up from $238.”
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has called the tax discriminatory because they charge that many Caribbean countries, which are the same distance to London as many US states, are charged higher duties because they are in a different “band.”
According CTO statistics, the region saw a decline in British travelers for the third year in a row.