AirportWatch welcomes Air Passenger Duty increase


6.12.2011 (AirportWatch press release)

AirportWatch [1] has welcomed the government’s announcement today [2] that Air Passenger Duty (APD) will be increased.  Sarah Clayton, spokesperson, for AirportWatch, said  “We are pleased that the Coalition government has kept its resolve and increased APD in spite of fierce and persistent lobbying by the aviation industry.

In these difficult economic times it is absolutely right that the aviation industry and its customers join the rest of society in making their fair contribution towards the country’s finances. Aviation remains greatly under-taxed compared with  most other sectors of the economy, which pay duties on the energy they use.  Aviation still pays no fuel duty and no VAT [3]. This increase in APD makes a small but important step towards fairer taxation”.

The Treasury has reiterated that APD is not an environmental tax. [4]


 Notes to  Editors

Note [1].  AirportWatch is an umbrella movement uniting the national environmental organisations, airport community groups, and individuals opposed to unsustainable aviation expansion, and its damaging environmental effects, including climate change.

Note [2].

Note [3]. AirportWatch calculations, based on government figures, show that if aviation were taxed at the same rate as motorists and VAT were paid at the standard rate, this would raise about £11 billion per annum for the Exchequer. Subtracting APD, the aviation industry still benefits to the extent of £8½ billion pa.  

Note [4].  Quote:   “The Government has been clear that APD is primarily a revenue-raising duty which makes an important contribution to the public finances, whilst also giving rise to secondary environmental benefits. Furthermore, VAT is not applied to flights and aviation fuel for commercial flights is not taxed.”  Page 14 of Treasury response on APD.



APD distance bands APD £ per passenger from 1 April 2012 (old rates from 1.11.2010)Miles from UK                                           Reduced rate*                         Standard rate* 

                                                        (in lowest class of travel)      (in other than lowest class of travel)

Band A (0-2000)                                             £13    (£12)                                  £26 (£24)

Band B (2001-4000)                                      £65   (£60)                                   £130  (£120)

Band C (4001-6000)                                         £81    (£75)                                  £162  (£150)

Band D (over 6000)                                       £92    (£85)                                  £184  (£174)

Private Jets:  The extension of the tax base to all flights on aircraft of 5.7 tonnes or more is estimated to bring an additional 50,000 flights within the scope of APD. Between 5% and 10% of these flights will be captured by the new premium tax rate (planes with a certified authorised weight over 20 tonnes and fewer than 19 seats).



see also


Government retains APD distance and class bands

Date added: December 6, 2011

Air Passenger Duty rate banding for both distances and seat class will not be changed, the government has said. The 4 distance bands will be retained. There will be no reduced APD rate for premium economy. The government said any banding system would produce some anomalies, and the 4 band system produces fewer than a 2 band system. APD will increase 10% from 1 April 2012 as announced in the Budget last week and business jets of 5.7 tonnes or more will be included from 1 April 2013.

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