International flight prices set to rise for Britons as air travel targeted in budget

Booster jab: Gillian Keegan discusses travel advice

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Air passenger duty is a tax paid by airlines but increases in the duty are normally passed on to passengers with a rise in traveller fares. Passengers flying to long haul destinations are expected to see a big increase in ticket price.

It is expected that the Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce a reform of the air passenger tax in the upcoming budget.

Air passenger duty is currently paid in two bands which separate destinations by those over 2,000 miles away and under 2,000.

Business class passengers accrue a higher tax than those travelling in cheaper economy seats.

The maximum amount that can be charged per air passenger is currently set to rise to £554 in April 2022.

Reports suggest that Sunak is planning to introduce a third band to the air passenger duty, with destinations more than 6,000 miles away facing a higher charge.

British tourists travelling to long haul destinations such as Japan, South Africa and Australia would be affected if the reform comes in.

However, the Chancellor is expected to announce a lower rate of air passenger tax for travel within the UK.

In a bid to boost the Government’s levelling up agenda, domestic flights would see a lower rate of tax.

It is thought that a move to decrease the tax on domestic flights would be intended to boost connectivity between the four nations.

However, lowering tax on domestic flights would be a controversial move ahead of the upcoming COP26 climate summit.

Climate activists have called upon the Government to improve public transportation routes such as trains and buses to discourage people from flying domestically.

Research from the New Economics Foundation has shown that 15 percent of people in the UK take 70 percent of flights.

Some climate campaigners have argued for a frequent flyer levy that would charge people for taking more than one flight per year.

The aviation industry accounts for around two percent of global emissions and while airlines have committed to zero emissions by 2050, some think the target is unrealistic.

Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary has said that he believes there is little public support for taxes and flight shaming.

He recently hit out at Emmanuel Macron for ‘flight-shaming’ and accused the French President of ‘lying’.

O’Leary claimed that a new law restricting domestic air travel in France was designed to benefit Air France rather than protect the climate.

He said: “France is banning all domestic flights that are under 500km- unless it is travelling on a connecting flight through Paris Charles de Gaulle. So basically Air France will keep on flying but everyone else will be banned.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said it is time for “humanity to grow up” on climate change and “listen to the warnings”.

He recently told the UN General Assembly: “We must come together in a collective coming of age [on climate change].”

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