Stop taxing our holidays

In a speech this week the boss of IATA – the organisation that represents most of the world’s airlines – confirmed that the UK has the highest air passenger taxes in the world . Tony Tyler, the IATA’s director general, said the fact that it had been cut in Northern Ireland showed the government there recognised its negative economic effects. By contrast, at the last Budget George Osborne increased Air Passenger Duty (APD) by a staggering 8 per cent. A typical family flying economy class from the UK now pays almost 400 per cent more in tax than if they were making the trip from another country in Europe.

Not only do we pay more in air passenger taxes leaving a British airport than in any other country in the world, but only five other countries in Europe even levy a passenger tax. If you and your family want to get away for a well-earned break and decide to go to Florida this year, four of you flying in economy class will pay a whopping £260 in air taxes alone. All that despite the fact that, as far back as 2007, the Government’s own research found it was excessive compared to the environmental costs created by flights and a whole new tax has since been imposed on air travel with its inclusion in the EU Emissions Trading System. 

It’s not just ordinary families that are being affected by this regressive tax. Inbound tourism, which supports thousands of jobs in the UK, is taking a huge hit too. Last year three million Chinese tourists came to Europe, yet a paltry 127,000 of them visited the UK. Why? Probably because a family of four from China will pay nearly £600 more than most other EU countries to visit the UK (a result of both our exorbitant air taxes and higher visa costs). We're losing out on a huge growth market precisely at a time when our struggling economy would benefit from the inbound investment tourism brings. That’s why the final report of the 2020 Tax Commission recommended abolishing APD entirely.

In the meantime the very least the Government could do is reduce it. A new campaign has been launched to raise awareness about the impact of APD, not just among ordinary holidaymakers, but amongst policy-makers, many of whom seem oblivious to its damaging impact. A Fair Tax on Flying is asking the public to write an email to their MP as possible to oppose the current levels of APD.

Air Passenger Duty is having a damaging impact on the ability of ordinary families to take a well-earned holiday and it’s having a damaging impact on our economy, at the worst possible time. It’s time for, at the very least, a fair tax on flying ; add your name to the list to get politicians listening.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience.  More info. Okay