Flying Into The UK? Here's How To Avoid Paying The Aviation Tax



Flying into the UK? I’ve got some bad news for you. There’s a nasty tax called the Air Passenger Duty (APD) which is levied on all flights departing from UK airports – even domestic flights. An effective way for the UK government to raise general taxation revenue from international air passengers departing from the UK, the APD rates are divided into two classes: “standard” and “reduced”, with "standard" referring to Premium Economy, Business Class and First Class, and "reduced" referring to Economy. 

How is this tax calculated?
The distances are calculated from London to the capital city of the country you're heading for (see ‘Bands A - D’ below).

How much is this tax?
As of the 1 April, the charges for reduced/standard rates in GBP are the following:
  • Band A (0-2000 miles): £13 / £26 - This includes Ireland, the Channel Islands, Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, Tunisia, Turkey, Italy and Russia (Moscow or St. Petersburg /West of the Urals).
  • Band B (2001-4000 miles): £65 / £130 - This includes the US, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Lebanon, Ivory Coast, Israel, Gambia.
  • Band C (4001-6000 miles): £81 / £162 - This includes the Caribbean destinations of Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic and Cuba; South American countries such as Brazil, Belize and Colombia; South Africa, Burma, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, India, the Maldives, Mauritius and the Seychelles.
  • Band D (6000+ miles): £92 / £184 - Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.
Ways to get around it.
While this tax can put a damper on your budget, particularly when you’ve already forked out thousands for your holiday, there are ways to get around the APD tax:

1) Take the train or the ferry for short distance destinations. For example, if you’re traveling to Edinburgh, Dublin, Faro or Malaga, why don’t you opt for the train or ferries to avoid the APD tax.

2) If you are traveling longer distances, get yourself to Belfast International Airport and take a connecting flight from there. APD rates to Belfast are £13 for “reduced” and £26 for “standard”. Another option is flying to Dublin Airport, where the departure tax is €3 per passenger. 

3) Why not fly to a European city like Paris or Amsterdam before heading home, where you pay the lower Band A tax. You may want to spend a few days there or just get a connecting flight.

4) You could play the bands. For example, visit Hawaii (Band B) rather than Cuba (Band C), Pakistan (Band B) rather than India (Band C), Canaries (Band A) rather than Egypt (Band B) or China, Hong Kong and Japan (Band C) rather than Indonesia (Band D).


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