Sunak set to hike long-haul flight costs through air passenger duty Budget

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Sunak set to hike long-haul flight costs through air passenger duty Budget
© Provided by City AM

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is plotting an air passenger duty hike for flights to long-haul destinations like Australia, Japan and South Africa in his Autumn Budget next week, as a penalty for their environmental damage.

Passengers flying to such destinations can expect to pay more after the Chancellor has laid out his plans next week for the “overhaul” of the tax which he first discussed earlier this year.

The longer the journey, the higher the rate that will be levied, according to the reform plans set to be announced, which the Guardian first reported.

Although air passenger duty (APD) is paid by airlines, it is reflected in passenger fares, which they tend to increase in line with any tax increase.

It’s charged in two bands, for destinations under 2000 miles and above 2000 miles.

Those travelling in business class pay more of the duty, and the government already plans to increase the maximum that can be levied per passenger next April to £554.

It comes after the government published a consultation in March alongside the Spring Budget, which detailed several options that ministers were considering for a change the current structure of the tax.

One of these was to introduce three international distance bands at the following distances: 0-2,000 miles; 2,000-5,500 miles; and 5,500 miles plus.

According to the reports, the Chancellor is also expected to introduce a new, lower rate for domestic flights.

Environmentalists have previously criticised the government for not going far enough to tackle pollution in potential APD reforms.

British advocacy group Campaign for Better Transport recently called on the government to ban some domestic flights to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions produced domestically.

“It makes no environmental sense for flying to be cheaper than taking the train, and for air travel to be exempt from duty on their fossil fuel use while rail companies have to pay levies on electricity,” Cait Hewitt, policy director at the Aviation Environment Federation, said at the time.

Thinktank the New Economics Foundation (Nef) has called for the government to go further and introduce a frequent flyer levy that requires passengers who travel regularly to pay more for their second and subsequent flights they take each year.

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