Aviation passengers departing from the United Kingdom are set to see the cost of their tickets rise, as the government increases air passenger duty for the second successive year.
The tax on some flights will rise by up to 55 per cent from today as part of the changes, which will generate an estimated £2.3 billion for the Treasury in additional revenue.
Long haul flights will be worst hit and family holidays are likely to be more expensive.
Airlines have consistently attacked the “tax on tourism”, with Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson claiming family holidays will become “unaffordable” for many.
Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, used the budget airline’s financial results this morning to launch an attack on the levy.
He said: “We continue to switch capacity away from countries like Ireland and the UK where they have a passenger tax - and remember the passenger tax is a tax at a rate of about 33 per cent on Ryanair’s average ticket price, so this government is asking the poorest passengers to pay the most amount of tax.
“But we’re growing very rapidly in those countries like Spain and Italy where they scrapped the taxes and have been rewarded with traffic and tourism growth.”
Air Passenger Duty
Air Passenger Duty was initially introduced at just £5 for UK and European flights and £10 for longer-haul journeys in 1994, only rose to £10 for economy flights in Europe and £40 for flights further afield by 2007.
In the past three years, it has increased dramatically.
Following the latest rises, economy passengers flying to a destination in Band A (which includes destinations up to 2,000 miles from London) will pay £12 per ticket – an increase of 9 per cent.
At the other end of the scale, premium passengers flying to a Band D destination (more than 6,000 miles from London) will pay £170 in air passenger duty.
One of the hardest hit areas is the Caribbean, which has largely been classified in Band C – despite many destinations being closer to London than US cities classified in Band B.
The Board of Airline Representatives in the United Kingdom (BAR UK) has also spoken out against the changes.
Chief Executive Mike Carrivick said: “BAR UK has campaigned tirelessly against these excessive and unfair taxes.
“Air passengers are being discriminated against and the economy will suffer.
“BAR UK is calling on the Treasury not to implement any further increases since the airline industry and its customers cannot afford the international competitiveness of the UK to slide any further.”