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Air Passenger Duty To Increase In 2021

  • October 14 2020

No one could disagree that 2020 has been a particularly tough year for the travel industry, with airlines, cruise lines, and various travel companies being forced to halt operations earlier this year. Millions of customers found their holiday plans had to be scrapped, leaving them rightfully asking for refunds.

Now it appears the costs of travelling abroad next year could be set to rise after the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak revealed that the government will be increasing Air Passenger Duty (APD) by 2.5 per cent in 2021, reports the Independent.

Travel organisations ABTA and Airlines UK and the Airport Operators Association, recovering from the strains of the coronavirus pandemic, had asked the government for a 12-month suspension from APD, but instead, the government has warned that it will be increasing the charge from April next year.

Chief executive of ABTA Mark Tanzer said last week: We believe the Chancellor should consider an APD cut ahead of next summer to incentivise people to book their holidays in 2021.”

Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade added that the government should bring forth a package of support measures for the industry, including a 12-month waiver on APD to aid economic recovery.

But how will this affect your holiday next year?

APD is a tax on passenger flights from UK airports that was introduced in 1994, and is based on how far you are flying, and if you are flying in premium or economy class. It is typically included in the cost of your airline ticket.

The government is set to increase APD for both economy and premium classes on medium- and long-haul flights.

The 2.5 per cent increase means that economy medium- and long-haul flights will incur an additional £2 per passenger, increasing the APD charge on a fare to £82.

The charge for premium class medium- and long-haul seats will increase by 2.3 per cent, an extra £4, raising the APD from £176 to £180.

However, there is some good news, in that short-haul flights will be unaffected, with the APD remaining at £26 for premium class and £13 for economy seats.

The charges on short-haul flights mean that flights to Europe after April 2021 will remain the same unless you are flying by private jet or on an aircraft with fewer than 19 seats, which will have higher rates applied. Currently, they stand at £78 for shorter flights and £515 for long-haul.

Long-haul direct flights from Northern Ireland and all flights from airports in the Scottish Highlands and Islands are exempt from APD, as are children under the age of two who do not require a seat, irrespective of what class they are flying in. If a seat is purchased, they will only be exempt in the lowest class of travel.

Children under 16 in the lowest class of travel are also exempt but not in any other class or private jets.

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