New research says UK Treasury takes £6 of every £10 spent on internal UK flights

posted on 17th September 2018 by Justin Burns
New research says UK Treasury takes £6 of every £10 spent on internal UK flights

Research released today by the A Fair Tax on Flying Campaign shows UK Air Passenger Duty (APD) accounts for £6 in £10 of the air fares paid by those making return flights within the UK.

APD is a per passenger tax levied on flights from UK airports. It is the highest aviation tax of its kind in Europe and among the highest of any country in the world.

A Fair Tax on Flying Campaign spokesperson, Henk van Klaveren said: “This exorbitant tax on all short haul and long haul flights hurts the UK economy.  It’s a ‘Tax on Trade’ and a ‘Tax on Holidays’. And this analysis shows that it is an unfair burden to business and leisure travellers making return flights within the UK.

“This damages connectivity, regional economies and the overall country. It is a definite brake on growing the benefits of tourism and business travel across the country.

“We are urging the chancellor to decisively cut APD in the Budget by at least 50% across all bands of travel.  This will help move the UK towards a more level playing field with some of our neighbouring economies.”

2017 was a record-breaking year for inbound tourism with 15.3 million holidays being taken to the UK, but 65 per cent of visitors didn’t venture beyond London. Tourism contributed £66.3 billion to the UK economy in 2017, roughly 3.4 per cent of the total GDP.

The APD charged on a short-haul economy class ticket is currently £13 for each leg of the journey, meaning that typically 32 per cent of what passengers spent on their return economy flights within the UK goes to the Treasury, rising in some cases to as much as 58%. The APD charged on a long haul economy class ticket is currently £78.

The research searched the flights and examples of intra UK return fares showing APD as a percentage of fares. Fares departing Tuesday 16 October and returning the same or following day. Prices searched on 11 September at 4pm using easyJet, Flybe and British Airway’s websites.

The A Fair Tax on Flying Campaign, which is backed by a coalition of airlines and transport organisations, is calling for a cut of at least 50 per cent to APD to benefit consumers and encourage trade.

The coalition members are the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), AirlinesUK, the Airport Operator’s Association and the association of foreign airlines that operate in the UK known as BAR, the Board of Airline Representatives.

Airport departing Airport Arriving Airline Standard Price at time of search APD standard as a % of the fare
London Gatwick Newquay Flybe £70 37%
London Southend Manchester Flybe £94 28%
London Heathrow Belfast BA £93 28%
London Heathrow Newcastle BA £95 27%
London Southend Exeter Flybe £148 18%
London Stansted Glasgow Easy Jet £45 58%
London Stansted Edinburgh Easy Jet £45 58%
London Heathrow Leeds BA £93 28%
Exeter Manchester Flybe £72 36%
Exeter Newcastle Flybe £83 31%
Exeter Edinburgh Flybe £130 20%
Cardiff Newcastle Flybe £178 15%
Cardiff Edinburgh Flybe £56 46%
Belfast International Edinburgh Easy jet £50 52%
Southampton Edinburgh Flybe £63 41%
Southampton Manchester Flybe £48 54%
Newquay Manchester Flybe £72 36%
Newquay Edinburgh Flybe £109 24%