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 £78 to £156.
The rates for 2019-20 were announced as part of last year’s Budget measures. The Band A rates and the long-haul economy rates will remain the same whilst the Band B premium class rates will increase to £172. 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 2020-21. The rates paid for Band B long-haul journeys will range from £80 to £176. The rates for the tax year 2020-21 are announced early in order to give industry sufficient advance notice of changes in the rates.
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 £468, increasing to £515 in 2019-20 and to £528 in 2020-21.
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.