27 Aug

Stop the Government making flights to the Caribbean unaffordable

With thousands of friends and relatives jetting over from the Caribbean to enjoy Europe’s biggest and best Carnival, ABTA is calling on people to write to their MPs and sign an online No. 10 e-petition to stop the Government drastically increasing taxes on long haul flights later this year. This will have a dramatic effect on the cost of flying to the Caribbean potentially putting visiting friends and family out of reach when people are already feeling the pinch financially.

Currently if you fly economy to the Caribbean you pay the Government £40 for the privilege. From 1 November 2009 this goes up to £50 and from 1 November 2010 to £75, the flying poll tax being called Air Passenger Duty [APD]. This means a family of four going over to visit friends and relatives will pay £200 in tax this year and a whopping £300 in 2011. If you have paid for a little extra legroom in premium economy you will pay double these amounts. Earlier this year the Dutch Government ditched a similar tax on the grounds that the damage it caused their economy vastly outweighed the money going into Government coffers. 

The British Government is now backtracking on claims that APD is a green tax as already the £2 billion pounds raised each year is much greater than the cost of environmental damage caused by flying. UK airlines will be  joining the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme in 2012 a much fairer and more efficient way of addressing environmental concerns.

Mark Tanzer ABTA CEO said “These APD increases will have a terrible impact on the cost of flying to see family and other loved ones both going to and coming from the Caribbean. They will also discourage tourists from visiting the islands with potentially devastating effects on local economies at an already difficult economic time”.

The Government estimates that APD will discourage up to 1.4 million people from flying to and from the UK. The e-petition calling on the Government to rethink these increases can be accessed at www.abta.com

APD was introduced in 1994 and has seen several increases since. Rates are as follows:

For travel before 1 November 2009
Reduced Rates (economy seats)
£10 for European destinations*
£40 for all other destinations
Standard Rates (premium seats, including business class only airlines)
£20 for European destinations*
£80 for all other destinations

*EU Member States, Albania, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iceland, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro & Serbia, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.

For travel on or after 1 November 2009
Four geographical bands will come into effect based on the distance from London to the capital city of the country concerned (with the exception of the Russian Federation which is split east and west of the Urals):
Band A    0–2,000 miles from London
Band B    2,001–4,000 miles from London
Band C    4,001–6,000 miles from London
Band D    over 6,000 miles from London

The Reduced and Standard rates will continue to apply.  Rates of duty for 2009-10 and 2010-11 are as follows:                

  Reduced Rate  Standard Rate
Band 2009-10     2010-11    2009-10  2010-11
Band A £11 £12 £22          £24
Band B £45               £60          £90          £120
Band C £50 £75                 £100 £150
Band D £55 £85 £110 £170

Full details, including the tables specifying which countries and territories fall into each of the new APD bands, can be found at www.hmrc.gov.uk/pbr2008/pbrn20.pdf.