UK Prime Minister Hikes Tax On Commercial Flights But Not Private Jets
- British PM Rishi Sunak has increased the Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax on domestic flights within the UK, excluding private jets and helicopters.
- The increase in APD will vary depending on the class of travel, with economy class seeing an increase from £6.50 to £7 and business class from £13 to £14.
- Private jets and helicopters are unaffected by the increase in APD, with the tax maintained at £78.
- Rishi Sunak has faced criticism for his frequent use of private jet travel.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has increased the Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax on domestic flights within the UK, excluding private jets and helicopters, causing heavy criticism, according to a report by The Mirror.
In the UK’s Finance Bill, the Government subtly outlined its intention to raise Air Passenger Duty (APD) on all domestic flights across the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. The increased tax will affect all commercial flights, not private jets or helicopters.
Details of the increase
The increase will affect passengers differently depending on the class they are traveling in. For economy class travelers, the Air Passenger Duty tax will increase this share of their ticket from £6.50 ($8.26) to £7 ($8.89). Meanwhile, business and premium economy class passengers will see an increase from £13 ($16.52) to £14 ($17.79).
Photo: Tom Boon | Simple Flying
Air Passenger Duty is a surcharge added on a flight departing from the United Kingdom and was first introduced in 1993. It was meant to be a replacement for a so-called fuel surcharge that was banned in many European countries. This alternative is not imposed on services arriving in the United Kingdom. The Air Passenger Duty can sometimes add up to £175 per ticket for services departing the United Kingdom.
The APD is only charged on flights departing from the UK.
This latest increase follows a cut introduced by the Government last April. The tax was reduced from £13 ($16.52) for domestic services to the current £6.50 ($8.26). This means that the British Government halved the required Air Passenger Duty for domestic services at the time.
Meanwhile, on services that exceed 5,500 miles, the Government introduced a new range of taxes known as “ultra-long haul.” This new band penalizes those who take such flights, charging £91 ($115.61) in economy class and £200 ($254.08) in any other class.
The tax cut was initially brought up two years ago due to a struggling air transport industry in the United Kingdom. It has since been a point of grave concern and protest from airlines, particularly those operating domestic flights.
Smooth sailing for private jets
Private jets will not see a tax increase. The Air Passenger Duty will be maintained at the current £78 ($99.09). In addition, helicopters remain untouched by the changes as the bill constitutes increases solely for “fixed-wing” aircraft. The document said:
“This measure will impact on some individuals who travel by air, who may see an increase in air fares.”
In a Committee hearing in Parliament on Tuesday, Treasury Minister Gareth Davies confirmed that helicopters and private jets remained unaffected but noted a difference in spending power between passengers on typical commercial airliners and those using private jets or helicopters.
“The rate on private jets is significantly more than any commercial flight passenger will pay.”
Rishi Sunak is the most frequent UK flyer
A report published by the BBC last year showed that Rishi Sunak was the busiest UK Prime Minister regarding private jet usage in recent times. Data from the Ministry of Defence revealed that during the Prime Minister’s first seven months in office, he took approximately one private jet flight per week.
Rishi Sunak has faced criticism for frequently utilizing private jet travel for domestic trips.
Last January, Rishi Sunak faced criticism for taking a private jet for a mere 36-minute journey between London and Leeds.
At the time, Member of Parliament for the Scottish National Party (SNP) representing Edinburgh East, Tommy Sheppard said:
“Sunak used a private jet to travel to Leeds yesterday despite the journey taking 2.5hrs by train. Likely costing taxpayers much more and making a mockery of his climate pledges in the process. Unbelievable.”
Source: The Mirror