Air passenger taxes rise

By | Category: Travel rumblings

annoyed and moaning

© Dan Sperrin

Today, increases in APD came into force meaning we will pay more in tax to the government when we fly. But since the industry has known about it for some time you will have already been charged by airlines for any tickets you have bought to fly after today.
The airline industry has been particularly vocal in complaining about it over the last few months. MP’s were lobbied and all and sundry were urged to sign the fair tax on flying petition.

Did any of this have any effect?
None.

But the news this year isn’t as bad as in previous years. If you fly less than 2,000 miles then there is no rise in APD. Since that includes the most popular destinations like France, Spain, Portugal, Turkey and Italy most holidaymakers will be unaffected. But if you fly between 2,001 and 4,000 miles (places like Egypt, Canada and USA) then the increase is £2 per person. It doesn’t sound a lot until you realise that, prior to this increase, you were already paying £65 each as opposed to just £13 for flying in the first bracket.
Travel one mile more than 2,000 and you end up paying £54 which must make it the most expensive one mile to be travelled anywhere. Yes, I am being slightly facetious there but I do it to highlight the large jump between the two bands.
In the two upper bands – 4,001 miles to 6,000 and over 6,000 – you will also have to pay an extra £2 each. So the increases can’t be said to be onerous and they do bring a lot of money to the exchequer.
As I have written before, the tax will only go when airlines and tourist boards can prove that the UK is losing out on receiving visitors and the eagerly desired cash. Earlier this year, the World Travel and Tourism Council produced figures showing that UK tourism rose by 4% last year. Is that due to the Olympics and the jubilee? APD didn’t affect our tourism growth. But without those events what will 2013 bring?

As Simon Calder said on BBC’S Breakfast this morning, the tax is easy – and almost costs nothing – to collect and half of all payers are not voters. (ie they are people flying into the UK) Given the rotten weather over Easter and the large increase in people flying to warmer climes last week, there need to be better reasons as to why this tax should go. Because it looks to me as though not only have we accepted it but it isn’t going to greatly affect our travel habits.

Yet.

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