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Air Passenger Duty (APD)

What is the Air Passenger Duty (APD)?
APD is a government excise duty, and is payable to the Treasury by UK airlines. However, this tax is only charged once a flight has taken off, and therefore, if passengers do not use their flight, they are entitled to claim the APD back. The cost of APD is set to rise by £1 to £11 on short-haul economy flights, and to £45 on long-haul economy flights to the US, £50 to the Caribbean and £55 to Singapore. There will also be increases for other classes of ticket.

Virgin boss says
• Holidaymakers will bear the brunt of this unjust tax
• British businesses will suffer as passengers avoid UK
• The increases spell doom for Caribbean and Africa’s developing economies

Join the debate

In the picture form left to right are: Dermot Blastland, Managing Director of TUI UK & Ireland; Graham Boynton, Travel Editor, Daily Telegraph; Petra Roach, Vice-President Sales & Marketing UK, the Barbados Tourism Authority; Barbados Prime Minister, The Hon. David Thompson and Barbados High Commissioner, HE Tony Arthur.
Prime Minister Thompson of Barbados lobbies British Government to abolish Air Passenger Duty
The Hon. David Thompson, Q.C., M.P., Prime Minister of Barbados, met with senior UK travel industry representatives as part of his campaign to persuade the British Government to amend its Air Passenger Duty (APD) proposals. The group came together at the Prime Minister’s invitation and it is the first time such senior individuals have convened as a group to discuss this important issue. more

Which? Holiday pleads with airlines to make Reclaiming Air Passenger Duty easier
As from Monday 2 November, 2009, the amount of Air Passenger Duty (APD) levied on UK travellers will increase. Which? Holiday is calling for airlines to make it easier for passengers to claim back APD on unused flights. The Which? Holiday research from April 2009 showed that some airlines charge up to four times the value of APD in admin fees, putting some passengers off claiming back what is rightfully theirs.
Rochelle Turner, Head of Research for Which? Holiday says: “We want to see all airlines either charge a proportionate fee for reclaiming Air Passenger Duty on unused flights, or charge nothing at all**. Airlines should not be the automatic beneficiary of any unclaimed APD. We think that any administration fees that put people off claiming back APD are unfair.”

The head of Virgin Atlantic, has called on David Cameron and the Conservative Party to commit to scrapping further increases in Air Passenger Duty, if they are elected to power in 2010. Virgin Atlantic says that the rise in two phases by up to 113% by November next year, hurting all leisure and business travellers leaving the UK. The first phase increase is planned for 1 November this year.
Steve Ridgway, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, commented:
“These proposed increases will not only hurt the aviation industry but also harm the British economy and those of many developing countries, like the Caribbean, which heavily rely on the tourism trade. It will also tax many hard working British holidaymakers out of flying altogether. “We are therefore calling on the Conservatives to see sense on this issue and commit to scrapping the planned increase for 2010 if they are successful at the next
election. Everyone knows the airline industry, along with the wider UK business community, will be severely damaged by these unjust future increases in APD.

The effect of APD on charities
The so called ‘Green Tax’, APD was originally set at £5 for a flight to a European destination and £20 for all other destinations. Unbelievably it was doubled in February 2007 and now from November 2009 it is set to increase substantially with yet another rise scheduled for November 2010.
These increases will be hugely detrimental to the budgets of charities who will see an 87% increase in worldwide flights from November 2010. The ability to deliver aid to the poorest populations in the world will be severely compromised and the so called ‘green tax’ will actually mean that a typical international charity will have to raise a further £40,000 just to cover their APD costs. For example, Oxfam will pay an additional £41K, SCF an additional £38K and Tearfund £46K if they did the same journeys in 2011 as they did in 2008.
Key Travel is calling on the Government to think again… How are charities supposed to survive the economic downturn if even more taxes are levied?

Virgin Atlantic contd:..
“The Government seems to claim this is an environmental tax despite a total lack of evidence to support this claim. Aviation is already paying its own way for carbon emissions generated and any further increases in APD are simply lining government pockets.”
Virgin Atlantic sets out its main concerns:
• Short-haul routes, where there is often a viable alternative, will receive the smallest increases in APD while the largest will be applied to long-haul routes where no alternatives exist
• The levels of APD bear little relationship to the environmental impact of air services
• These extraordinary tax hikes will severely harm the UK aviation industry – we urge the Government not to penalize the airline industry to an extent that no other country would contemplate
• British business and the British economy will suffer as passengers will fly via third countries to avoid the tax
• The new banding system is discriminatory against many regions, including the Caribbean which is heavily reliant on the tourism industry
• Hard working holidaymakers will be hard hit by this unjust tax
• Premium Economy passengers will be unfairly hit with the same charges as Upper Class passengers despite their fares being much lower
• APD should be withdrawn as soon as aviation becomes part of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in 2012 otherwise the UK aviation industry would be taxed twice-over
Since July all of Virgin Atlantic’s e-tickets have carried messages criticising the unjust tax increase by the UK Government, and asking passengers to visit a new information website so they can protest to their local MP about the increases.

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