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Brexit me at the airport

Brexit me at the airport

Get Brexited if you leave Britain

The UK budget has just been handed down by the delightful Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond.

One aspect of the budget that has not been trumpeted in the 25 things you need to know is the Airport Passenger Duty (APD).

This ‘little’ (I am using the term euphemistically) charge will affect us long-haulers, especially in premium classes, but will not affect the average Brit who is off to  Marbella for the weekend of drunken skin cancer acquisition.

Mr. Hammond has decided that he is not sufficiently happy with the UK having the highest charges for commercial air travel of any country in the world, but that the fees should be increased if you are undertaking travel that originates in the Old Dart. And, by originating, they mean ‘going’ or ‘departing’ from, not ‘transiting’ through. So if you’re on your way from Australian, and transiting in London with your ticketed destination being Dublin – you will not be the subject of this pernicious ‘little’ charge. However, if you have just been in London, and you are on your way back to Sydney – then you will be subject to the charge.

Here’s an educative extract from the GOV.UK website:

Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2017-18 to amend section 30 of Finance Act (FA) 1994. The rates will be as follows:

From 1 April 2019

Bands (distance in miles from London) Reduced rate (lowest class of travel) Standard rate (other than the lowest class of travel)(1) Higher rate (2)
Band A (0 to 2000 miles) £13 £26 £78
Band B (over 2000 miles) £78 £172 £515

(1) If any class of travel provides a seat pitch in excess of 1.016 metres (40 inches) the standard rate is the minimum rate that applies.

(2) The higher rate applies to flights aboard aircraft of 20 tonnes and above with fewer than 19 seats.

So what does that actually mean?

Well, it should be clearer if I provide you with a translation:

  • ‘Band A’ means short-haul
  • ‘Band B’ means long haul
  • Reduced rate = Economy
  • Standard rate = Premium, Busines & First
  • Higher rate = Private Jet stuff (who cares?)

Have a look at the current rates – and you will see that short-haul is as stagnant as a backyard tank, while long-haul is in for a bit of a hike.

Current Rates

Bands (distance in miles from London) Reduced rate (lowest class of travel) Standard rate (other than the lowest class of travel)(1)
Band A (0 to 2000 miles) £13 £26
Band B (over 2000 miles) £75 £150

Well that’s all the bad news. The moderately good news is these increased charges won’t be fully implemented until April 2019, and the little Brexit poppets off to the Costa del Sol for their hens night are promised a freeze on the APD for 5 years through to 2024. (just remember that the Exchequer has a lot of cheques to ‘ex’ before then, so I wouldn’t hold your Brexit on that promise.

It’s a bit like the food on British Airways business class – looks OK, until you see the gravy.

a plate of food on a table

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