London to Cancun with Virgin
Richard Branson celebrates Virgin's new route to Cancun with Keith Lemon and Alexandra Burke. Looks like the comedian's taken a liking to Branson's mariachi style hat though...
Dressed in full-on mariachi dress, Richard Branson celebrated his airline's new route to Cancun in Mexico. And in a bid to increase the pressure on the government to have a rethink on Air Passenger Duty (APD), customers booking flights to Cancun can look forward to APD-free tickets if booked this coming weekend (13 and 14 July) for flights between 28 August and 5 December 2012 and 1 January and 12 March 2013.
Branson claims that during the busiest holiday months (July and August), the government will take in £600 million in APD. He added that "this suffocating tax has rocketed way out of control. Years of above-inflation increases have hit passengers hard, are hitting the economy hard and are impeding recover from the recession."
A family of four booking a trip to Cancun this weekend are set to save around £325 in APD if they book their holiday this weekend on the relevant dates. Virgin Atlantic customers will also start seeing a message from the airline on all their e-tickets thanking them as well as letting them know that they have just paid the highest APD tax in the world to the British government. Directing their customers to the Fair Tax Campaign, which receives the support of the UK's biggest airlines including easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways, they ask UK residents to support the campaign by emailing their MP asking them to scrap the tax.
The debate continues...
With publicity of the launch that included comedian, Keith Lemon, Richard Branson also used the opportunity to highlight the need for more airport capacity in London arguing for a third runway to be built at Heathrow Airport.
The APD tax was increased by 8% in the last Budget. Previous increases have seen the level of APD rise by up to 360% since 2005 with more rises planned for 2013.