UK Airport Departure Tax (APD)

Atta has been lobbying government for some time on the outrageous APD tax which is seriously damaging outbound tourism from UK. The APD is an excise duty which is charged to passengers travelling on flights from the UK. The recent statement concerning the APD on flights to the Caribbean, which  is lumped into the highest tax band that makes travel to the region more expensive than travelling from London to the United States, clearly  demonstrates  that the UK government has no intention of lowering the duty which is also charged at the highest rate to  Sub Saharan Africa. This is a huge defeat for travel industry leaders who have been trying to get the duty reduced.

This week’s statement which causes concern

The British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean said in a public statement this week that she does not expect her government to revisit its Air Passenger Duty (APD). “It’s something that lots of people have raised with me, and they’re right to do it… I understand some of the impact this is having and how strongly people feel about it, and I think the Caribbean in some ways has a good case to make,” High Commissioner Victoria Dean said on Wednesday.

“Foreign Secretary William Hague discussed this in Sri Lanka earlier this year… with a number of leaders from this region, and they made very clear to him again their concerns about the impact that this was having, and he said that he understood those concerns, that he was unlikely to be able to change this soon with the way that the UK economy is faring at the moment, asking my government to do something expensive isn’t easy to do.“

I have to be honest with you I don’t think it’s going to change very, very soon, but I do understand the concerns of the Caribbean on this issue,” she added. Caribbean governments and world tourism stakeholders have argued that it is unfair to a region that is tourism dependent, and have been lobbying to have the tax removed. The UK government instead, in April increased the rate. Dean said on Wednesday she was not convinced that the higher APD was a deterrent for passengers travelling from the UK. She said there was some indication in Barbados that arrivals from the UK were increasing, and she that she was not sure that travellers considered the breakdown of the cost of airfare, looking rather at the overall cost of trip

What is APD?

Air Passenger Duty (APD) is an excise duty which is charged on the carriage of passengers flying from a United Kingdom airport on an aircraft that has an authorised take-off weight of more than ten tonnes or more than twenty seats for passengers. The duty is not payable by inbound international passengers who are booked   to continue their journey (to an international destination) within 24 hours of their scheduled time of arrival in the UK. As part of the 2008 Pre-Budget Report, Air Passenger Duty was restructured.These new charges take distance into account, making long distance flying significantly more expensive. Critics of APD's claimed environmental credentials point out that the tax takes no account of the efficiency of the aircraft. This table summarises the changes:

The distance used to calculate the new rate of APD is the distance between London and the capital city of the destination country as summarised below:

New Rate from Nov 2009   from Apr 2013
Band A (0 – 2000 miles) £11   £13
Band B (2001 – 4000 miles) £45   £67
Band C (4001 – 6000 miles) £50   £83
Band D (over 6000 miles) £55   £94