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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
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Border Force price hike forces BBGA appeal
The Home Office has offered no evidential data to justify nearly doubling the cost of premium border services according to the BBGA, and it is concerned that potential UK investors may go elsewhere.

The British Business General Aviation Association (BBGA) is appealing to the UK Government for a reduction in fee increases for Premium Services at the UK border on behalf of its members. Premium Services refer to airports with dedicated FBOs handling business aviation that don't have border force facilities on site. The hourly rate charged for UK Border force premium services is set to leap by 94 per cent from 1 July.

The Government justifies the substantial increase because fees have remained unchanged since 2019, saying: "It reflects increasing financial pressures, growing resource costs and the need to future-proof these 'enhanced' bespoke premium services."

In a letter to Home Secretary James Cleverly BBGA states that ONS (Office for National Statistics) figures for wage growth since 2019 are in the region of 30 per cent. This therefore shows a clear lack of alignment between the rate increases stated and real time costs. BBGA strongly suggests a reduced rate of increase of around 40 per cent. As regards future proofing the enhanced bespoke premium service, BBGA states there is no clarity of when a future price rise will be endorsed. It therefore demonstrates a lack of quantifiable data to justify the increased hourly rate.

"A 94 per cent increase in charges coupled with no clarity of when a further increase in charges will be endorsed is unacceptable to the UK business aviation community. The Home Office has offered no evidential data to justify the cost rise," stresses BBGA managing director Lindsey Oliver. "The enhanced bespoke service provided by UK Border Force is not viewed as an optional extra to business aviation users. Passengers with a high security risk cannot transit through a main terminal for UKBF services in a safe manner. These passengers are often well-known clients, heads of state and UHNW business leaders with UK investment interests."

"It is unfortunate that the UK Home Office has chosen to raise funds by imposing exorbitant fees on those seeking to travel to the UK for investment purposes," comments Jason Hayward, general manager, Universal Aviation and head of BBGA's FBO Working Group. "This decision could deter potential investors who wish to contribute to the nation's and local economies."

The Home Office has conducted a study to compare similar services and processes in other countries. BBGA has requested urgent sight of this study to quantify the hourly rate increase.

Lindsey Oliver will be at EBACE 2024 on the Gallagher stand booth No D50 on Thursday, 30 May.

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