Tax on flights takes off again

Holiday-home owners hit by new hike in air-fare taxes
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Soneva Gili, Maldives
Flights from the UK will be up to £60 more expensive from November, and could affect British tourist numbers to the Caribbean
Air Passenger Duty is increasing from November 1, 2010, for the second year in a row. Flights from the UK will be up to £60 more expensive, an increase of 325 per cent since 2005.

This new tax (APD), outlined by Labour and adopted by the Coalition, is expected to raise £2.9 billion and makes UK air tax the most expensive in Europe.

Since 2008 APD has been levied by placing destination countries in bands depending on the distance of their capital city from London. Critics point out the inequalities of this, with journeys to the Caribbean taxed more heavily than those to Hawaii or Alaska, 3,000 miles further from London.

Tourism ministers from six Caribbean islands visited London last month to highlight their concerns, calling the tax discriminatory and claiming it played a significant part in the decline in British tourists to the Caribbean last year.

“We have had discussions with the British Government about the unfair APD and hope we can be moved into the same band as flights to the US,” said Allen Chastenet, tourism minister for St Lucia.

A family of four flying in Premium Economy from London to the Caribbean will pay £600 APD, while private jet passengers and cargo planes remain exempt.

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