Airlines urge review as air passenger duty rises by 8%


Travel Journalist Simon Calder says the 8% APD is "impossible to avoid"

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Air passenger duty (APD) has risen by 8%, as announced by the government in the Autumn Statement last year.

For short-haul flights, the tax has increased from £12 to £13. For long-haul flights of more than 4,000 miles, it has gone up from £85 to £92.

In light of the increase, airlines called on the Treasury to review the impact on "hard working families".

A Treasury minister said the majority of passengers will only pay an extra £1 as a result of the rise.

Also as of 1 April, corporation tax in the UK falls by 1% to 24%.

The changes in APD will also see it extended to private business jets for the first time.

'Tax review'

In a joint statement the bosses of Easyjet, British Airways owner IAG, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic said the increase would "hit millions of hard-working families and damage the wider economy".

"We urge [Chancellor] George Osborne to make APD the first tax to be examined under the Treasury's new review of the wider impacts of taxation on the economy," they said.

They added that further planned rises in the tax before 2016 would mean a family of four paying £500 in tax to fly economy class to Australia. In 2005, they said, the same family would have paid £80.

Sir Richard Branson, who owns Virgin Atlantic, told the BBC increasing the tax might put some people off visiting the UK.

"Tax is all very well when it's not actually costing the country money and I think it's getting to a stage where it's actually going to cost the country money," he said.

The business group the CBI has also called for a lower rise in APD.

The government defended the rise by saying it had frozen APD last year.

"Most passengers pay only a pound more on their flights as a result of the rise," said Economic Secretary to the Treasury Chloe Smith.

"We have made aviation tax fairer by bringing private business jets in for the first time.

"We were able to take action to freeze APD last year and we have been able to be clear about what will then happen to it this year - I think that does represent a fair deal for passengers and I think it does also represent a fair deal for businesses, who are today enjoying a historically low rate of corporation tax," she said.

There are four bands of APD. Tax on short-haul flights has gone up from £12 to £13.

Longer flights up to 4,000 miles have seen an increase from £60 to £65, while tax on flights between 4,000 and 6,000 miles has risen from £75 to £81.

APD on flights above 6,000 miles has increased from £85 to £92.

All these figures refer to economy class flights; business class passengers pay more.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Remember what that nice Mr Gordon Brown said when he dreamed up this wizard wheeze of a tax ? Oh, it's just a fiver or a tenner, nothing to worry about he claimed at the time.

    Well, it's not just a fiver or a tenner now, it's almost £100 for a long haul flight.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    I'd rather pay the government a real tax than the fake taxes levied by the airlines.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    We are taxed to the hilt in this country. How long before we are taxed on the air we breathe? Does anyone know how much extra revenue the ConLib incompetents will get from all the extra tax we are going to have to pay. There will be no economic recovery if the good people of this country don't have cash in their pockets to spend in the high street or things that generate growth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Taxed to the hilt!

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    I would not mind if the £1 tax increase on short haul was just that. However some airlines seem to think that the tax levy should be higher during peak times! An airline I fly with regularly likes to add £37 tax during school holidays! This needs regulating.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Re (1) Adam: Eh? Surely if you're in business class you use up a greater proportion of the plane. There's a decent chunk of metal that has to be transported from A to B, not just you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Does anything go down in price in the UK these days? Prescriptions, petrol, taxes go up but I bet wages do not

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Well done government, another nail in the coffin for foreign travel. Airlines don't and never will suffer from these pointless taxes, just us poor sods. Roll on the election and the monster raving loony party !

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Airlines should sort themselves out first before complaining about APD.

    Their own fuel surcharges are often more (and sometimes twice more) than APD yet if you cancel your flight you get the APD back but not the fuel surcharge despite the fact you didn't fly.

    They are exempt from VAT on fuel and all sorts of other taxes and will benefit from the reduction in corporation tax.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    I can't see why there should be separate rate of APD for economy and business class passengers. We all emit the same amount of carbon regardless of what class of travel we use.


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