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UK air passenger taxes among world’s highest

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Travellers in the UK are hit by some of the world’s highest taxes on flying, according to a new study by accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young. The UK imposes air passenger duty (APD) of £13 on short haul flights, and £71 on long haul flights leaving from airports in England and Wales. The charges are currently the highest within the EU and well above the average for G7 countries, which currently sits at £10 (US$15) on short haul flights and £23 ($34) on long haul flights.

According to the firm, the global average, based on countries where aviation taxes are imposed, is currently £15 ($23) on short haul flights and £35 ($53) on long haul flights. Many countries, however, do not currently impose any taxes on individual air passengers.

UHY Hacker Young says these additional costs damage tourism, penalise SMEs trying to expand overseas, disadvantage remote regional cities, and chip away at labour mobility; and that they may also affect airlines’ abilities to offer less profitable routes, which can reduce regional cities’ attractiveness as a business location. The firm adds that although taxes on flying are often billed as ‘green taxes’ in the UK, as elsewhere, the revenue raised is not ring-fenced for environmental protection projects.