Virgin Atlantic has kicked off its new route to Cancun by announcing it will scrap Air Passenger Duty (APD) for flights to the popular Mexican resort.
Airline chief Sir Richard Branson dubbed the APD tax “suffocating” and will give travellers a two-day window in which to avoid the charge.
“In an Olympic year, it is obscene for the Treasury to be taking £10 million every day from visitors and British holidaymakers alike,” Branson said.
“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 our recovery from the recession.”
Those passengers that book Virgin Atlantic flights between the UK and Cancun on July 14 and 15 will not have to pay APD. This is valid for travel between August 28 and December 5 2012 and from January 1 to March 12 2013.
A message on Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays e-tickets also urges passengers to take a stand against APD.
“Thank you for choosing to fly with us. You might be surprised to know that you have just paid the highest air passenger tax in the world to the British Government,” the statement says.
“Please join us in supporting the Fair Tax on Flying campaign. If you live in the UK, please take 15 seconds to email your MP to tell them that Air Passenger Duty is now far too high.”
Mr Branson has also made a stand on the government’s unwillingness to contemplate an expansion at Heathrow airport, arguing that current policy may lead the UK to be turned into a “third world country”.
The inaugural flight for the Cancun route will take place this Saturday and the launch will be attended by celebrities including X Factor star Alexandra Burke, illusionist Derren Brown, comedian Leigh Francis and presenter Cleo Rocos.
(Image: Virgin Atlantic)