Air Passenger Duty to rise by 2.5% in 2021 despite aviation industry struggles

Helen Coffey
·2-min read
 ADP will go up for medium and long-haul flights
ADP will go up for medium and long-haul flights

Air Passenger Duty, the UK duty on flights, is set to increase in 2021, despite calls from the struggling aviation industry to freeze or even scrap the tax amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The government has announced that Air Passenger Duty (APD) will rise for economy and premium carriage on medium and long-haul flights from April next year.

The duty on economy fares will go up by 2.5 per cent from £80 to £82, while the tax on premium seats is to jump by 2.3 per cent from £176 to £180.

However, APD will remain unchanged for both classes on short-haul services, priced at £13 and £26 per passenger respectively.

Prior to Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision to further hike APD, industry figures had been calling for the government to give airlines a “holiday” from the tax in order to stimulate growth.

Mark Tanzer, chief executive of travel association Abta, said: “We believe the Chancellor should consider an APD cut ahead of next summer to incentivise people to book their holidays in 2021.”

Meanwhile, Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the trade body for UK-registered airlines, said: “The Government should bring forward a targeted package of support measures [including] a 12-month APD waiver to ensure our industry can play a vital role in the economic recovery.”

Last month the UK’s oldest travel trade title, Travel Trade Gazette (TTG), launched the #SaveTravel campaign, backed by almost 2,000 people in the industry who signed a letter to transport secretary Grant Shapps and Rishi Sunak demanding urgent financial support for the sector.

Demands included a pause on APD until the end of August 2021, which the campaign said would help with pricing and encourage consumers to start booking holidays again.

“The travel sector is all too aware of the pressures and complexities of the crisis facing this country, and wants to do all it can to help protect British citizens,” said editor of TTG, Sophie Griffiths. “But right now an entire sector is facing a catastrophic future, unless urgent help is provided.”

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What is Air Passenger Duty and how can I avoid paying it?