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Scrapping APD 'would boost holidaymakers'

09 March 2016 09:03

The UK has the highest long-haul air tax, data suggests

The UK has the highest long-haul air tax, data suggests

British holidaymakers could enjoy cheaper flights if a powerful airline trade body gets its way.

The British Air Transport Association (Bata) wants George Osborne, the Chancellor, to scrap air passenger duty (APD) in next week's Budget.

It says that no other country taxes its long-haul passengers more than the UK.

The group, which includes easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways as members, claims the tax makes Britain "internationally uncompetitive".

Long-haul costs

Long-haul trip APD is due to rise to £73 from the current £71 from next month.

It is already the highest in the world before the increase, according to Steer Davies Gleave consultants, who were hired by Bata.

This sum is:

- more than the next two highest, Ghana and Fiji, at £70 and £65 respectively

- over twice as much as other European nations with Germany and Austria the next highest at £32 and £27 respectively

- more than double the £27 seen in Australia and the £25 paid in the US

Short-haul costs

UK economy class short-haul flyers have to pay £13 each. This is in excess of anything seen in mainland Europe.

Second-placed Greece, for example, charges £9 while Italy and Germany charge £7 and £6 respectively

Keeping costs down

Whether or not Mr Osborne agrees to Bata's calls next Wednesday (March 16), there are ways that plane passengers can keep costs down.

Taking out travel insurance can potentially save them hundreds of pounds if the unexpected happens.

This can protect them against things such as cancelled flights, lost luggage and thieved goods.

What the experts say

Nathan Stower, chief executive of Bata, says its new research is both "sobering" and "stark" when it comes to the lack of competitiveness in Britain's airport tax arrangements.

He estimates that British airports will rake in £3 billion-plus for the Exchequer during 2016. This is despite Mr Osborne's decision to scrap the tax for under-16 passengers.