Australians hit hard: UK flight taxes up 55%

By Michael Flux, November 1 2010
Australians hit hard: UK flight taxes up 55%

Travellers jetting to England from this week will be hit with a higher departure tax when it's time to head back home. The 'air passenger duty', imposed by the British government on all flights out of the country, skyrockets up to 55% over the previous rate in a series of across-the-board tax hikes.

It's bad news especially for Australians planning flights to Britain. We're currently placed in "band D", which means the highest level of tax. Business class airfares will cost an extra £170 ($277), while economy has an added £85 ($139).

The long distance between the two countries is what makes Australia one of the biggest losers of the tax.

Unsurprisingly, UK airlines have howled against the increase in rates. British Airways CEO, Willie Walsh, believes the move will damage the economy, declaring, "It's hitting at business and it's hitting at people who want to do business in the UK".

Air passenger duty has risen by up to 325 per cent in the last four years. It's unclear what the purpose of the tax is -- it was initially promoted as being a "green tax", with revenues to help offset carbon emissions from aviation. But with revenues forecast to grow to £2.3 billion per annum, it looks more like a tax being used to bolster general government revenue.

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