A Fair Tax on Flying

By: Dave Hodges

October 27, 2016

Boeing 747-400


Air Passenger Duty (APD) was introduced in 1994 as a flat charge of £5 (UK/EU) or £10 (elsewhere) per passenger for travelling from a UK airport. In its 22 years of existence it has morphed from a small charge to the highest tax on long-haul flying in the world.

Our customers now pay £73 tax in Economy, and double that in Premium Economy or Upper Class.

UK rate of APD 2016/17

So this week the campaign group A Fair Tax on Flying – of which we are members –  have launched a public campaign to call on the Government to reduce the tax on our customers by 50%.

Alongside the UK, just a small number of European countries levy an aviation tax at present., And for those countries who do impose a tax, the rate is always much smaller than ours with the long-haul rate of UK APD more than double the next highest tax in Europe.


The lack of competitiveness becomes even starker when you consider the global long-haul league table.


We don’t think it’s fair that our customers have to pay such a high tax to travel.

And neither do the many members of A Fair Tax on Flying from the business groups to the tourism sector. At a time when we should be encouraging our businesses to export more to Asia, Africa and the Americas, we are taxing them more than other country in the world to travel. The British Chambers of Commerce calls it ‘a trade tax on global traders’.The other major business groups have also highlighted its damage.

As holidaymakers save each month towards their trip, it doesn’t seem fair that British families have to strive for longer to pay a travel tax that increases the cost of their break. We are determined to continuing campaigning for our customers to get a better deal from Government.

That’s why this week the new campaign has launched and we are fully supporting it on behalf of our customers of today, tomorrow and beyond, as well as those who might never fly with us but deserve a better deal. We want the Government to act now, act fairly, and reduce the highest travel tax in the world by 50%.

You can support the campaign by going to:



Dave Hodges

Dave Hodges is an external affairs manager at Virgin Atlantic. What does that mean? Nobody knows, but he is often talking about the business impact of politics and policy changes so we hope that has something to do with it. He’s also an avid Leicester City fan, a 2016 shock event that everyone can agree was a great thing.

Categories: Press Release