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Autumn Budget 2021: Air passenger duty reduced on domestic flights – but upped on long haul

Written by: Emma Lunn
Air passenger duty (APD) will be reduced by 50% for Brits who fly on domestic flights between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in his Budget speech that people pay more for return flights within and between the four nations of the UK than they do when flying home from abroad. The current rate of APD on these flights is £13 and will be cut to £6.50.

Sunak said: “It will bring people together across the UK, and because they tend to have a greater proportion of domestic passengers, it’s a boost to regional airports like Aberdeen, Belfast, Inverness and Southampton.”

The Budget announcement came just days before the UK is due to host the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, prompting criticism from climate activists who argue that flying should be the least attractive option for customers.

Brits going on ‘ultra long haul’ holidays, such as to Australia, New Zealand, South America and South Africa, will pay a higher rate of APD from April 2023.

Those flying more than 5,500 miles will be subject to a new APD band which will cost them £91 in tax for seats in economy class on flights of over 5,500 miles – a £7 increase.

Sunak said: “We’re making changes to reduce carbon emissions from aviation. Most emissions come from international rather than domestic aviation, so I’m introducing, from April 2023, a new ultra long haul band in Air Passenger Duty, covering flights of over 5,500 miles, with an economy rate of £91. Less than 5% of passengers will pay more; but those who fly furthest will pay the most.”

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