Business Jets over 5.7 tonnes to be charged APD after April 2013

Business jets will be charged Air Passenger Duty from April 2013. The Treasury says the   reason for not charging it from April 2012 is that “changes will bring a substantial number of new operators into the APD regime and will require the introduction of special rules tailored to business aviation.” APD will be charged on any jet with more than around 6 – 8 seats, depending on the model. Many private jets in practice carry just 2 or 3 passengers. AEF figures on the CO2 emissions per private jet passenger, compared to premium class on a commercial airline, show them to be 3 – 8 times higher.

Following the announcement in the Autumn Statement, the Treasury has now confirmed, in its response to the Air Passenger Duty consultation, that APD rates will rise in line with inflation from April 2012. The new rates were set out in full in the Treasury document.

The Treasury gives the details of a new duty to be levied on business jets over 5.7 tonnes from April 2013.

All flights on aircraft under 20 tonnes or with 19 seats or more will be subject to the same distance banding structure and rates of APD that apply to passengers taking commercial flights, with the distance between rows of seats determining whether the higher or lower rate is charged.

For aircraft of 20 tonnes or more, with fewer than 19 seats (those providing a premium service), duty rates equivalent to double the ‘standard’ APD rate (ie the higher rate) in each respective distance band will apply. The Treasury recognises that aircraft of 20 tonnes or more, with fewer than 19 seats, generally provide a higher class of service.  There is no difference in APD according to distance of the business flight.

From the current jet range of Cessna, the world’s leading business jet maker
by volume, only its five-seat, 1,150nm-range Citation Mustang (3.9 tonnes) and
8-9-seat, 1,613nm-range CJ2+ (5.68 tonnes) squeak under this 5.7 tonne  limit. Cessna’s 7-8 seat, 1,875nm-range CJ3 (6.3 tonnes) and 8-9-seat, 2002nm-range CJ4 (7.7 tonnes)
are heavier than the cutoff.

The Treasury estimates that the extension to include all flights of 5.7 tonnes or more will bring around 50,000 additional flights within the scope of APD. Consultation with the industry revealed that business jet flights carry an average of around 2 -3 passengers
per flight. It is expected that the majority of these passengers are relatively high-income individuals travelling on business.  The majority of business jet passengers are male. No other equalities impacts are expected.  [The APD consultation, which started in March 2011, said “There is limited data on individuals flying aboard business jets. It is estimated that passengers flying on around 80,000-90,000 ‘business jet’ flights would be liable to pay this new charge from 2012-13.”   (page 32 of consultation document).


Until now, these flights have not been subject to air passenger duty despite travellers on commercial airline services having to pay duty of about £12 (rising to £13 in April 2012)  for short-haul journeys and up to £110 for long-haul flights. The new rules would extend this to almost all air passengers.

Some operators have complained vociferously about APD being extended to private jets. But others are more resigned to the tax.   Alex Berry, group executive sales and
marketing director at Chapman Freeborn, the world’s biggest charter company by
revenue, says the levy is equitable. “There’s no reason why a person going on
a private jet to Malaga shouldn’t pay tax, while a family of four going on holiday

“Our customers are not going to stop flying because of the cost – £30, £40 or
£50 a trip. It’s a nominal cost compared with running an aeroplane.”

He adds that private jet operators are likely to pass on the cost to passengers
rather than bearing the price themselves, which should should ease any increase
in pressure on the operators themselves.

Some analysts agree. “Given that chartering even a small private jet can cost
approximately £10,000 per hour, the level of air passenger duty charges imposed
by the chancellor would have to be quite high for demand to be negatively affected,
in our view,” says Adrian Murray of Oriel Securities.  ( link  – FT article May 2011)

Treasury document.

 “Reform of Air Passenger Duty: Treasury response to the consultation”

A few extracts on business aviation and APD:

Page 6  

The main industry bodies had commented, in the consultation, that:

“The number of potential flights carrying passengers from the UK in our sector is closer
to 24,000 per annum and the average number of passengers per flight is less than 3.
Because of the nature of business aviation many of the flights are positioning flights
without passengers on board. ”


The Government accepts that the extension of APD to business aviation should distinguish
between short-haul and long-haul flights, and recognises that there is a range of comfort
aboard flights which should be reflected in the rates of APD charged. [But it gives no detail on different bands of APD according to distance].

Page 7
The Government will introduce a special scheme, which allows business aviation operators who elect into the scheme to estimate their average passenger numbers for the purposes of APD. This will minimise administration and compliance burdens. The Government will discuss the design of the scheme with industry.

These changes will bring a substantial number of new operators into the APD regime and
will require the introduction of special rules tailored to business aviation. The Government has therefore decided to delay the implementation date until April 2013

The document says:

The extension of APD to business jet flights is not expected to have a significant effect on overall demand, given that generally APD will account for only a small fraction of the final price of hiring a business jet.

On Page 14 it gives financial figures of the money it expects the tax to cost private jet operators, and the costs to the government on instituting the tax and administering it.

The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) have done some calculations on the amount of carbon private jets emit:

Examples of rough estimates of ‘bizjet’ emissions

Summary table

CO2 emissions per passenger from business jets compared with average emissions from commercial aircraft (one way, not return):

Citation XDassault Falcon 50EXCommercial airline: premiumCommercial airline: economy
London (LHR) to Lisbon1,564 Km845.712 kg CO2761.25 kg CO2141.73 Kg of CO2   132.2 kg CO2
London to New York5,538 Km2994.67 kg CO22695.53 kg CO2760.22 kg CO2380.11 kg of CO2

(Note that aviation’s impact on climate is in fact greater than that of CO2 alone so caution would be needed in comparing these figures with those from other transport modes. The climate changing effect is about double that of CO2 alone, due to other gas interactions, and formation of cirrus cloud.  These are, of course, the same for business jets or commercial jets, so do not affect this comparison).

How we arrived at these figures

1.  The following stats for the Citation X are available from :

Usable fuel capacity 5,865 kg

Fuel-full payload 621 kg

Range 5,686 km

Fuel per kilometer:    5865 / 5686 = 1.03, so as a rough estimate it uses 1.03 kg fuel per km (this is based max range and max fuel load; don’t know how you’d find out actual average fuel used)

So for a journey from London to Lisbon (6 passengers in the plane)…

Travelling 1564 km (using the ICAO carbon calculator), carrying 6 passengers with baggage (“fuel-full payload” divided by industry standard for passenger weight including baggage – 100 kg),

Total fuel used per passenger, London to Lisbon (single, not return), would be 268.48 kg and so emissions per passenger would be 845.712 kg CO2

1 kg kerosene emits 3.15 kg CO2 (See, for example, p 67 at, 

By way of comparison , according to the ICAO calculator, 1 person flying London to Lisbon (whether economy or first class) on a scheduled plane would ordinarily emit 141.73 kg of CO2

London to New York (6 passengers in the plane)

Max range for the Citation X suggests it could just about make it to New York

5538 km on the Citation X carrying 6 passengers with baggage, London to New York (single, not  return), would use 950.69 kg fuel per passenger, emitting 2994.67 kg CO2.

Using the ICAO calculator, 1 passenger flying premier class to New York would generally emit 760.22 kg CO2 (or 380.11 kg of CO2 in economy class)  

If there were only 2 or 3 passengers (not 6), these figures would be correspondingly higher.

2.  Stats for the Dassault Falcon 50EX, “built like a fighter to help bring out the best of your competitive spirit”, are from

Usable fuel capacity 15,520 lb (7 039.75358 kg)

Max range 3,075 nm (5 694.9 km) with 8 passengers

Fuel use:  So fuel use per km can be estimated as 1.23kg fuel per km
With 8 passengers, this means 0.15 kg fuel per passenger per km

London to Lisbon:

Flying from London to Lisbon is, according to ICAO’s carbon calculator 1564 km.

On the Dassault Falcon with 8 passengers,  London to Lisbon, this means 241.667427 kg fuel per person so emissions per passenger would be 761.25 kg CO2 for this journey

[1 kg kerosene emits 3.15 kg CO2 (See, for example, p 67 at],

The ICAO calculator gives emissions for a business or economy seat, London to Lisbon, on a commercial flight as 141.73 Kg of CO2

London to New York:

For London to New York is a journey of 5538 km according to ICAO.

On ICAO’s calculator on a similar commercial flight emissions, London to New York, would be around 760.22 kg CO2 (or 380.11 kg of CO2 in economy class).

 On the Dassault Falcon, with 8 passengers, London to New York, fuel use would be 855.725197 kg fuel per person or 2695.53 kg CO2

If there were only 2 or 3 passengers (not 8), these figures would be correspondingly higher

Ratio of CO2 emissions per passenger,  bizjet to commercial

From the above estimated emissions:

London to Lisbon

Citation X                                845:141     = 6.0

Dassault Falcon 50EX         761/141    = 5.4


London to New York

Citation X                            2994/760  =   3.9 (premium)

“                                           2994/ 380  =  7.9 (economy)

Dassault Falcon 50EX     2695/ 760  =   3.5 (premium)

“                                           2695/380    =   7.1 (economy)

From this very small sample it may be concluded that:

per-passenger emissions from bizjets are from about 3 to 8 times higher than commercial planes. 


There is more on business jets, especially in relation to Farnborough, in the response to the Aviation Scoping Document (Oct 2011) from CPRE Hampshire.  This is at

 CPRE Hampshire Response

see also

Billionaires to be given free carbon allowances to offset green tax on private jets


Corporate jets owned by very rich people and large companies will be given some free carbon permits under the ETS when it starts in January. Some 200 corporate jet owners will benefit. Flying Lion, the company used by Lord Ashcroft, will initially get 24 allowances per year worth €240 at today’s prices (€10 each).  DECC said aircraft operators had to submit flying data this spring to qualify for relief of up to 85% of their total bill by free allowances in the 1st year.


11.10.2011 (Telegraph)



Private jets carry 2.7 passengers on average – Farnborough

16th  March 2009 (Get Hampshire)

Brandon O’Reilly, the chief executive of TAG Farnborough Airport, the company
that owns and operates the airfield, said that on a fairly typical day last week
there were just 2.7 passengers per flight, adding that the actual average figure
could be even lower.  TAG’s revelation has caused outrage among environmental groups.  Hugh Sheppard, of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) said the figures had revealed the “gross inefficiency” of private jets.