Britain Trails Only Chad in Airline Access Costs, WEF Study Says

Britain has the second-highest airline access costs among 140 countries worldwide, according to research published today in a World Economic Reform report into competitiveness in the travel and tourism industries.

The U.K. ranks behind only Chad in terms of ticket taxes and airport fees, with a rating of 24.5 out of 100, where 0 represents the highest expense, according to the study. The U.S. is rated 14th most costly, with Japan, Germany and France also figuring among the bottom third of countries.

Airlines operating in the U.K. pay a tax known as air passenger duty on a per-passenger basis, with the tariff rising in four bands to as high as 184 pounds ($277) a trip for long-haul, premium seats. The four biggest carriers serving the country said Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne should do away with the levy in his next budget to be delivered on March 20.

“We call upon the Chancellor to use the forthcoming budget to remove APD to stimulate economic growth,” Ryanair Holdings Plc, EasyJet Plc, Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. and International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, the parent of British Airways, said in a joint statement. “It’s hard to find another comparable table on a key measure of international competitiveness which shows the U.K. to be trailing the rest of the world.”

Swaziland, Iran and Luxembourg score highest in the WEF, with ratings above 97.

Britain fares better in the overall ranking of competitiveness, placing fifth in the world -- two places higher than in the 2011 study -- behind only Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Spain. The U.S. is placed sixth and France seventh.