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Air Passenger Duty raised by Government

Furthest destinations will be worst hit

Airline passengers will be charged an increased rate of Air Passenger Duty from November 2009, following plans laid out in the government’s Pre Budget Report.

The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, announced that APD will be charged based on the length of journey, with those travelling furthest paying the most.

No Aviation Tax

The government had announced in its Pre Budget Report last year that it would consider the introduction of an aviation tax – or plane tax – which was to be paid by airlines based on the weight and distance flown by individual aircraft.

Instead, the new four-band system  will be levied against passengers and will be based on the number of miles travelled. Currently APD is charged on a long or short haul basis; £10 each way for European flights and £40 each way for any other destinations. 

New fees from 2009


Under the new plans, the APD on flights less than 2000 miles will increase to £11 per leg from November 1, 2009, and will rise to £12 in November 2010.

Flights of between 2001 and 4000 miles will cost £45 from November next year and will increase to £60 per flight from November 2010. An increase therefore of £120 per return flight will be levied on trips to destinations such as Egypt and North Africa.

APD on flights of between 4001 and 6000 miles, including the Caribbean, USA and Kenya, will increase to £50 next year and £75 the year after – effectively adding £150 to the price of a return flight from 2010.

For the longest flights, to Australia and Malaysia for instance, APD will rise to £55 and £85 in 2010. APD rates will be higher again in seating classes above economy standard.

Industry reaction

Abta, the Travel Association, said it was disappointed with the Government plans on APD, claiming ‘it is not environmentally efficient’ and ‘penalises those airlines which operate full aircraft’. It added: ‘Abta is particularly concerned that the increase will put off travellers to destinations such as the Caribbean and Kenya whose economies are extremely dependent upon tourism, particularly from the UK.

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