The Caribbean wins; most of us don’t

By | Category: Travel rumblings

arriving planeToday I eat humble pie. Or at least a slice. I couldn’t see that the budget would contain changes to Air Passenger Duty (APD) but it has. And, on the face of it, they are quite substantial too. Or are they?

From 1st April 2015, the top bands of APD for long haul travel which are bands C and D will disappear. There will be just two bands, A and B which effectively means that there is a tax band for short-haul flights and one for long-haul.  If I was flying to Australia or New Zealand before that date I would be paying £97 in tax. After that date it will be only be £71. And that is as high as anyone will pay.

But the tax still goes up on April Fool’s day this year as is usual. Those making short-haul flights that is less than 2,000 miles  (Band A) will still pay £13; those flying from 2,000-4,000 miles  (Band B) will pay an extra £2 to £69, those travelling 4,000-6,000 miles (Band C)  an extra £2 as well and for those travelling over 6,000 miles (Band D)  it will be an extra £3. So the Chancellor is still going to screw more money out of us this year which will provide at least £3 billion for the treasury.

But as I said, Bands C and D will go next year. Those travelling long haul will save. Those Caribbean nations who have argued for some time that the tax was iniquitous as they were classed as Band C whereas Hawaii being part of the USA was Band B. More Chinese visitors may come which is what the government wants as it alters the visa system.

But most of us travel short-haul, to Spain for example or France which are the most popular destinations for us. We will still be paying so how much will this change cost the Treasury? Not as much as the publicity value in making it appear that this was a significant change whereas in fact it isn’t for the vast majority of us.

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