Air tax rise to affect 6.5 million travellers

An estimated 6.5 million people are to be affected by the rise in Air Passenger Duty tax.  Travellers who have booked flights for April 2012 onwards will be forced to pay an additional fee towards their flights, even if they’re already paid for.


The decision on whether Air Passenger Duty will increase is expected to be announced at the end of this month, during the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on November 29.


Flights taking place after April 1 are to be affected by the rise, even if the tickets for the flights were purchased before April.


Virgin Atlantic have announced several thousand passengers have already booked trips out of the UK through the airline, and may be affected by this rise.


The company have said that the increases should be introduced with a 12-month lead-in time to avoid applying these costs to passengers who have booked their flights early.


Chief Commercial Officer Julie Southern said: “We are very concerned that the Chancellor has failed to rule out retrospective rises in Air Passenger Duty”.


“Hundreds of thousands of our customers could be affected by this, and industry-wide the numbers will be greater still, with millions of people contributing tens of millions in extra payments to the Treasury’s coffers”.


She added: “UK aviation taxes are already some of the highest in the world, and a retrospective application combined with a double-inflationary increase would make matters even worse”.


Virgin have revealed if the Governments proposal goes through APD could increase to a staggering £3 billion.


The expected hikes will see an average tax increase of 10 per cent, however some journeys may experience a rise up to a third.


A survey of tour operators, hoteliers and restaurants last month has revealed that these businesses expect to see a five per cent decrease in bookings next year due to the APD rise.


APD increased by as much as 55 per cent last year on some long-haul routes, with short-haul flights increasing by 10 per cent.


If Airport Passenger Duty tax is to rise in April, this will signify the fourth APD hike in five years.


Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh