Cheaper tax on long-haul flights introduced

British Airways plane

Passengers travelling on flights of 4,000 miles or more will pay less in tax from 1 April 2015.

But the new rules on Air Passenger Duty (APD) mean that those travelling between 2,000 and 4,000 miles face paying marginally more.

From 1 April, 'Band C' of the APD (paid by those travelling over 4,000 miles) and 'Band D' (paid by those travelling over 6,000 miles) were abolished and instead charged at 'Band B' rates, which used to cover 2,001-4,000 miles.

It means Band C passengers in economy class will pay £71 compared to £85 before, while Band D passengers will pay £71 compared to £97.

However, Band B itself has been increased. It used to cost passengers £69 to travel between 2,000 and 4,000 miles, but they must now also pay the £71 – £2 more.

This would save a family of four flying to Vancouver (4,714 miles) £56 in APD; while the same family will save £104 flying to Sydney (10,588 miles). However, if the family flies to New York (3,445 miles), they will pay £8 more.

However, from 1 May 2015, children under 12 will no longer have to pay Air Passenger Duty on economy flights; while from 1 March 2016, children under 16 will no longer have to pay it – meaning greater savings are on the way for families. The Treasury said exempting children from Air Passenger Duty, along with the April 2015 rule changes, mean a family of four flying to Australia will save £194.

Boosts to travel and tourism

ABTA, the UK's largest travel association, welcomed the reductions. It said moving all long-haul flights into Band B of the APD will save passengers and businesses over £200 million annually, "and should boost travel and tourism as well as promote greater UK connectivity".

It said the scrapping of APD for under-12s from May indicates, "the Government listened to the case made by the 'A Fair Tax on Flying' campaign to scrap the tax on family flights. A Fair Tax on Flying is an alliance of more than 30 travel organisations (including airlines, airports, trade associations and destinations) who believe that APD is too high and "negatively impacting on the economic competitiveness of the UK".


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