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British travellers change travel plans to avoid APD

British travellers change travel plans to avoid APD

British air passengers are each paying significantly more money on taxes and fees for air travel than other European countries, according to new research by Sainsbury’s Travel Money.

With Air Passenger Duty (‘APD’) rates increasing again last month, the survey reveals that higher taxes and fees are imposed on passengers flying from London than those departing from Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Madrid and Rome.

The new research commissioned by Sainsbury’s Travel Money reveals that nearly half of British travellers (46%) say they would take ‘APD avoidance’ measures such as taking long-haul flights from other European countries to reduce the amount of Air Passenger Duty they pay.

David Barrett of Sainsbury’s Travel Money, said: “Our research suggests that some families are rethinking their holiday plans because of the increased level of tax placed on some flights through Air Passenger Duty. It appears that many are willing to do all they can to get around it, from avoiding air travel altogether to taking long-haul flights from more competitively priced European airports.

“At a time when household budgets are being squeezed, we would encourage families to spend more time researching ways to ensure they still enjoy their family holiday and at the same time, reduce their holiday bills. This means not only looking at how to save on travel costs but also ensuring they get the best rates on their spending money by shopping around and arranging their travel money before they travel.”


The findings, based on researching typical prices of national flag carrier flights from major International Hub airports in Europe to a range of popular long-haul destinations, show that a passenger flying Economy Class from London to Sydney could typically pay more than £190 in taxes and fees than those travelling from Amsterdam to Sydney. The London to Sydney charge is over £554 compared to just £362 from Amsterdam.

London passengers flying Economy Class to Cape Town would typically pay £460 in taxes and fees, substantially more than the £347 for passengers travelling from Rome, £326 from Amsterdam or just £318 from Paris.

Taxes for London Economy passengers are slightly more competitive when travelling to New York at £351 when compared to travelling from Frankfurt, which would cost £383, however travelling to the Big Apple from London is still considerably higher in term of taxes and fees than from any of the other European departure airports surveyed.

The supermarket bank’s research indicates that in an effort to reduce their APD bill or avoid it altogether, over 7.5 million (16%) Brits would go to a short-haul holiday destination rather than long haul. Over 6.6 million (14%) would book a short-haul flight to a non-UK airport, have a stopover and then take a separate long-haul flight from there. This can work out more cost-effectively if the difference in flight prices is greater than the cost of the overnight stay.

One in eight Brits (13%) would deliberately choose a destination in a cheaper APD band and one in five (20%) would try to get the best economy class cabin seats at the front of the cabin instead of booking Premium-Economy or Business Class seats, which carry a higher APD charge. Some 12% of Britons would choose an alternative mode of transport and avoid air travel altogether in an effort to avoid APD.