Air Passenger Duty rises on 1st November

Air Passenger Duty rises by up to 55%                                     and see AirportWatch comment below
1.11.2010 (BBC)

Airline passengers flying out of the UK now face more expensive flights following
a controversial rise in Air Passenger Duty (APD).

Flight taxes rise by up to 55% from Monday as part of the changes, which will
generate an estimated £2.3bn for the Treasury.

Long-haul flights will be worst hit and family holidays are likely to be more

The move has been criticised by airlines, which fear lost business.

Airlines say the increased cost could put off tourists and business people travelling
to the UK. Critics also point out that family holidays could become much more

The travel and aviation industries are already struggling after the recession,
as people cut down on foreign holidays.

A group of four people flying economy to Florida will now pay £240 in tax, an
increase of 33%. And flying economy to popular holiday destinations in the Caribbean
will cost £75 in APD, up from £50 last year and £40 two years ago.

Passengers travelling in premium economy, business and first class will also
see hefty increases in the duty.

APD, initially introduced at just £5 for UK and European flights and £10 for
longer-haul journeys in 1994, only rose to £10 for economy flights in Europe and
£40 for flights further afield by 2007. In the past three years, it has increased


Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, used the budget airline’s results
this morning to launch an attack on the tax.

He said: “We continue to switch capacity away from countries like Ireland and
the UK where they have a passenger tax — and remember the passenger tax is a
tax at a rate of about 33% on Ryanair’s average ticket price, so this government
is asking the poorest passengers to pay the most amount of tax.

“But we’re growing very rapidly in those countries like Spain and Italy where
they scrapped the taxes and have been rewarded with traffic and tourism growth.”
Air Passenger Duty rises  

Economy           Premium                 Increase

Band A: 0-2,000 miles, inc. Europe


£12                                 £24                                  9%


Band B: 2,001-4,000 miles, inc. Egypt and US


£60                               £120                                33%


Band C: 4,001-6000 miles, inc. Caribbean and S Africa


£75                                 £150                              50%


Band D: more than 6,000 miles, inc. Australia


£85                                 £170                              55%


Source: HM Revenue and Customs
from ABTA

APD was introduced in 1994 and has seen several increases since.  

There are four geographical bands  based on the distance from London to the capital
city of the country concerned (with the exception of the Russian Federation which
is split east and west of the Urals):

Band A   0–2,000 miles from London  
Band B   2,001–4,000 miles from London  
Band C   4,001–6,000 miles from London  
Band D   over 6,000 miles from London  

Rates of duty for 2009-10 and 2010-11 are as follows:

Band   Reduced Rate   Standard Rate  
  2009-10  2010-11*   2009-10  2010-11*  
Band A    £11 £12  £22 £24
Band B      £45 £60  £90 £120
Band C    £50   £75  £100 £150
Band D    £55   £85  £110 £170

*takes effect 1 November 2010

Full details, including the tables specifying which countries and territories
fall into each of the new APD bands, can be found at

In the Emergency Budget on 22 June 2010 the Government announced a consultation
into replacing APD by a per plane duty (PPD). Indications are that this will be
launched in October. Proposals in 2008 by the previous Government on a per plane
duty came to nothing and it isn’t currently known what form the new proposals
might take.

Forecasts up to 2015-16 indicate APD will continue to rise from the £1.9bn in
2009-10 to £3.8bn in 2015-16 and, crucially, that UK aviation tax will continue
to rise even when aviation joins the EU ETS in 2012.

Emissions Trading Scheme

The 2003 Aviation White Paper contained the Government’s views on how aviation
should meet its environmental costs, with preference given to a scheme of global
emissions trading.

About  emissions trading

AirportWatch comment:
A lot of complaining from the aviation industry about the rise in Air Passenger
Duty. They are misleading people. The aviation industry is not over-taxed. Even
with the rise in APD it is still undertaxed. The Exchequer is losing around £10
billion because aviation fuel is tax-free and the industry pays no VAT. The income
from APD is still well below half that figure.   Aviation also says it pays for
its emissions through the European Emissions Trading System. That is beginning
to happen but that doesn’t cover noise or community destruction. And it misses
the point: APD is not an environmental tax. It was introduced by Kenneth Clarke
in the early 1990s to help make up the shortfall in aviation’s contribution to
general taxation. That is still its purpose.   It is time the aviation industry
paid its fair share of taxation.   1.11.2010
see also

Fair taxes on aviation could prevent over 20% of public sector cuts

Oct 22 2010    

AEF   (Aviation Environment Federation )

A simple analysis by AEF shows that fair taxes on aviation could prevent over
20% of planned public sector cuts.

 The Spending Review plans to cut expenditure by £81 billion pa by 2014/2015.
Of this £36.7 billion is cuts to public services. (Information from
Institute of Fiscal Studies presentation, slide 21.)

Last year HM Treasury advised us that if aircraft fuel was taxed at the same
rate as petrol and VAT was charged, the tax take would be over £10 billion pa.
That represents some 27% of the proposed cuts.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies says that the cuts are ‘regressive’ (ie hurt
poorer people most). But because aviation is very much the preserve of the well
off – see
recent article – higher aviation tax would be ‘progressive’.

Our comparison is of course very crude and various other comparisons could be
used or adjustments made. For example:

  • The total cut in spending could be used for comparison instead of cut to public
    services (% then lower)
  • Extrapolating tax take from now to 2015 to allow for aviation growth (% then
  • Allowing for a reduction in forecast air travel leading to a slightly smaller
    tax take (% then lower)
  • Abolishing Air Passenger Duty (APD) to offset fuel duty and VAT (% then lower)

The ConLib intent is to pay off the deficit in 4 years. But if the deficit were
paid off more slowly, as is Labour and Green Party policy, the same aviation taxes
could pay off a far greater proportion of the deficit and reduce public sector
cuts far more.

While there is no pretence of accuracy here, these ballpark figures show clearly
that aviation taxation is not just about reducing environmental impacts from one
sector . It has major social and economic dimensions.  
Taxing Aviation:
NEW briefing by the Green Alliance   June 2010
NEW report by the Policy Studies Institute   June 2010