Air passengers in UK face highest flight taxes across entire world

Michael Bow
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UK passengers are paying much higher air passenger levies than travellers from other countries (Source: Getty)
Brits flying off on long haul holidays this summer will pay nearly £50 more tax than travellers from other G7 nations, a new ranking of air passenger levies has found.

UK travellers will pay £71 each in tax for a long haul economy flight, compared to an average £23 levied in France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada, and the US, accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young said.

Globally, air passengers pay an average of £35 in tax for long haul flights.

UK air passenger duty is also the highest in the EU, despite attempts by the government to reform the rules.

“The higher taxes on flying in the UK hurt airlines, business users and consumers,” UHY Hacker Young tax partner Roy Maugham said.

“High air taxes can also be harmful to businesses, as in many commercial relationships there is simply no substitute for face to face contact.”

The UK air passenger duty for short haul flights is closer to the global average, costing £13 compared to £15 for the rest of the world. In the G7, the average is £10.

On a global scale, Russia has the highest air passenger taxes – weighing in at $272 – due to air tickets being subject to sales tax.

The UK government abolished air passenger duty for under-12s in May, while Northern Ireland tried to abolish the tax altogether to help Belfast’s airports compete with Dublin.

Ireland levies no air passenger duties, in keeping with other tax-free countries like Belgium, Holland, Puerto Rico, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Japan.

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