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Airlines warn of tax-rise chaos

Passengers may be forced to pay extra at airport


A plane in the sky

Holidaymakers who have already booked trips abroad next year may be forced to stump up extra cash at the airport to cover a rise in passenger duty, it was claimed today.

Chancellor Gordon Brown announced on Wednesday that air passenger duty (APD) will double from the start of February 2007.

It will mean an increase from £5 to £10 for economy-seat passengers on domestic and European routes, with the APD rising from £20 to £40 for economy-seat travellers on long-haul flights.

Business and first class passengers will face bills of £40 for short-haul flights and £80 for long-haul.

‘Logistical nightmare’

Although the tax doubling does not come into force until February, it will apply to flights included in trips already booked that leave after that date.

One airline boss told the Daily Mail it could create a ‘logistical nightmare’ at airports and cause chaos as staff tried to collect the money.

The newspaper said the travel industry was holding a ‘council of war’ today to discuss how to deal with the impact of the tax change.

A Treasury spokeswoman said it was a matter for the airlines to decide whether to pass on the extra duty to passengers who have already booked.

She said: ‘The increase applies to all air carriers for passengers they carry who fly after 1 February next year.

‘If any of those airlines choose to pass this on to the minority of passengers who have already booked, that is a matter for them but we urge them to honour the deals they have done with advance purchase customers.’

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