Monday’s annual U.K. budget has seen the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, freeze levies on short-haul flights, but increase levies on long-haul flights in line with inflation. The aviation industry has already expressed anger at the decision, indicating that it makes a mockery of the ambition to become a ‘Global Britain’ after leaving the European Union.
Speaking about the new levy for long-haul flights, IAG, owner of British Airways, commented that: “It’s ironic that this Brexit budget has undermined Britain’s global competitiveness by upping Air Passenger Duty (APD), the world’s highest aviation tax, again. We want to offer more flights to key trading markets, like our European competitors, but APD stifles route development to new emerging markets. If Britain wants to compete on the global stage post Brexit, it should be scrapped now.”
IAG also said that British Airways passengers paid £682 million in APD last year.
A spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic said customers were already paying a levy twice that of any other EU nation, to leave the UK: “APD now accounts for more than a quarter of our lowest fare.”
Tim Alderslade of Airlines UK commented that the planned tax increase was sending the wrong signal:
“APD is nothing but a tax on Global Britain.”
Hammond said short-haul APD rates for 2020-21 would not rise, remaining at the same level as they have been since 2012. For long-haul they will increase by £2.00, while the rates for those travelling in premium economy, business and first class will increase by £4.00. (£1.00 = US$1.27 at time of publication.)