UK hikes flight tax: A$282 for longhaul business class from April

By John Walton , March 29 2012
UK hikes flight tax: A$282 for longhaul business class from April

If you're travelling from the UK, don't be surprised if your airline hits you up for some extra cash to cover a rise in the UK's Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax from 1 April.

APD is a cunning way to raise general taxation revenue for the UK government from international air passengers departing from the UK, and is charmingly divided into "standard" and "reduced" rates.

Basically speaking, "standard" is for anyone not in economy class, and is double the "reduced" rate, which passengers in the cheap seats are charged. Doesn't that sound nice?

You may already have had an email or letter from your airline asking for some extra cash, but don't be surprised if you're asked to swipe your credit card at check-in.

Several airlines also request the additional money -- which can be as much as A$141 on top of what you've already paid -- when you're upgrading from economy to premium economy or business class.

From 1 April, the charges you'll pay will go up according to the distance you're travelling from the UK, with the reduced/standard rate in GBP:

  • Band A (0-2000 miles): £13 / £26 
  • Band B (2001-4000 miles): £65 / £130
  • Band C (4001-6000 miles): £81 / £162
  • Band D (6000+ miles): £92 / £184

In Australian dollars, that's:

  • Band A (0-2000 miles): $20 / $40
  • Band B (2001-4000 miles): $99 / $198
  • Band C (4001-6000 miles): $124 / $248
  • Band D (6000+ miles): $141 / $282

(The distance is calculated from London to the capital city of the country you're heading for, which naturally creates examples where that's ridiculous -- Perth, Los Angeles and Vancouver to name just three.)

As recently as October 2010, the "reduced" band for the longest flights was £55 (A$84), making this the latest in a series of eyewatering increases.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

djb
djb

19 Dec 2011

Total posts 50

have been avoiding this tax for a while by flying into uk then out of a european city such as amsterdam. Its amazing how much difference there is in business class fares, usually more than the tax & as I do business in both cities its just a matter of arranging my appointments to do london first.

If you don't mind a side trip, take the Eurostar and fly out of Paris/Brussels.

Sit down and enjoy the scenery, the Eurostar is a fun trip.

20 Jul 2011

Total posts 73

Surely this hits direct Qantas/BA/VS flights the hardest - you can pay tax on the whole 16000km journey on a direct flight, or connect through Frankfurt on Lufthansa and pay tax on a short-haul flight.  Wonder if they thought that through? 


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