By Marcus Leach

The confirmation of further rises in Air Passenger Duty (APD) is completely at odds with the Government’s declared aim of creating the foundations for growth, according to British Airways.

British Airways had been planning to create approximately 800 new jobs in 2012 to support growth of our flying programme, although that level of recruitment will now not be possible.

'Against an already difficult economic background, these fresh tax hikes make it impossible for us to proceed with this level of recruitment, so we expect to reduce this number by about half,' a statement on their website read.

'We will also postpone our plan to bring an extra Boeing 747 into service next summer, and review the use of two others.

'This will have consequences for our flying schedule and will affect suppliers in Wales, Northern Ireland and England, undermining efforts to sustain employment levels.

'APD is by far the highest aviation tax in the world. It is a tax on economic activity — a tax on jobs in airlines, airports, UK tourism and leisure, and many supplier industries. It is also a tax on doing business with Britain.

'To provide the transport links vital for success in a global economy, UK business needs a thriving aviation sector. APD is not creating the foundations for growth. It is destroying them.'

Keith Williams, British Airways’ chief executive, said the government are acting in direct contrast to what they are constantly talking about.

“The Government talks about creating the conditions for jobs and growth — but the reality is the opposite. Its tax policy, which is uniquely hostile to aviation, is costing jobs and growth at British Airways," he said.

"The rises in APD have left us with no alternative but to cut back on our planned recruitment. Many of these opportunities would have been for young people. At a time of high unemployment for new graduates and school-leavers, it is deeply regrettable that these additional tax increases have propelled us into this decision.”

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