The findings of a recent Sainsbury’s Finance report reveal that nearly half of British airline passengers (46%) would actively seek ways of reducing the amount of Air Passenger Duty they have to pay by taking long-haul flights from other European countries.
APD has been in the news lately because a rise in the tax means that passengers departing from London airports on long haul flights will have to pay even more than before, prompting many British long haul travellers to look at other options such as flying out to their long distance destinations from other airports instead, such as Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Madrid or Rome.
As an example, a passenger with an economy class ticket on a London to Sydney flight could pay more than £190 in taxes and fees compared to those travelling from Amsterdam to Sydney. The London to Sydney ticket price works out more than £554 compared to £362 from Amsterdam because of the higher APD tax.
David Barrett from Sainsbury’s Travel Money said: "Our research suggests that some families are rethinking their holiday plans because of the increased level of tax placed on some flights through Air Passenger Duty.
“It appears that many are willing to do all they can to get around it, from avoiding air travel altogether to taking long-haul flights from more competitively priced European airports.
"At a time when household budgets are being squeezed, we would encourage families to spend more time researching ways to ensure they still enjoy their family holiday and at the same time, reduce their holiday bills.”
APD rose 8% this year, following an announcement by the UK government in the Autumn Statement last year.
For short-haul flights, the tax has increased from £12 to £13. For long-haul flights of more than 4,000 miles, it has gone up from £85 to £92.
In April, the bosses of Easyjet, British Airways owner IAG, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic said in a joint statement that the increase would "hit millions of hard-working families and damage the wider economy".
"We urge [Chancellor] George Osborne to make APD the first tax to be examined under the Treasury’s new review of the wider impacts of taxation on the economy," they said.
They claimed that further planned rises in the tax before 2016 would mean a family of four paying £500 in tax to fly economy class to Australia. In 2005, they said, the same family would have paid £80.
There are four bands of APD on economy class tickets (business class flyers pay even more). Tax on short-haul flights has gone up from £12 to £13, longer flights up to 4,000 miles have seen an increase from £60 to £65, and the tax on flights between 4,000 and 6,000 miles has gone up from £75 to £81. On long haul flights a total distance of more than 6,000 miles, APD has risen from £85 to £92.
For more information on ABTA’s “A Fair Tax on Flying Campaign” visit the website http://www.abta.com/about/lobbying_and_government_affairs/afairtaxonflying
Fair Tax on Flying campaign members include: ABTA, ANTOR, AOA, British Airways, BAA, BAR UK, BATA, BMI, Bristol Airport, ETOA, Expedia, Gatwick Airport, Jet2, Lastminute.com, Leeds Bradford Airport, London City Airport, Luton Airport, Manchester Airport Group, Manston Airport, Monarch, Newcastle Airport, The Caribbean Council, The co-operative travel, Thomas Cook, Tourism Alliance, TUI Travel PLC, ukinbound, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays.