Air passenger duty (APD) is a departure tax levied on most air travel. Each geographical band has two rates of air passenger duty, one for standard class and the second for ‘other’ higher classes of travel (usually premium economy / business / first class). Currently, band A (short-haul) ranges from £13 for a standard class journey and £26 for an ‘other’ class of travel. The Band B (long-haul) rates for journeys over 2,000 miles range from £75 to £150.
The rates for 2018-19 were announced as part of the Spring Budget earlier this year. The Band A rates will remain the same and the Band B rates will increase to £78 and £156 respectively. In his autumn budget speech, the Chancellor confirmed that he will once again freeze the short-haul rates as well as the long-haul economy rates in 2019-20. The rates paid by premium class passengers for long-haul journeys will increase to £172.
Passengers using certain classes of private jets face even higher charges. The short-haul band remains frozen at £78 but the long-haul rates are currently £450, increasing to £468 in 2018-19 and to £515 in 2019-20.
Children under 16 are exempt from APD when travelling in standard economy class. There are also exemptions from APD for flights from airports in the Scottish Highlands and Islands as well as an exemption for direct long-haul flights departing from Northern Ireland. From 1 April 2018, APD in Scotland will be replaced by the Scottish Air Departure Tax.