UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s changes to air passenger duty (APD) will take effect from 2023.
Making changes as part of the autumn budget, he revealed that the government was cutting domestic APD by half from April 2023.
According to the Evening Standard, the reduced rate will apply to all flights between airports in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (excluding private jets).
What got people talking was the new higher band of APD for ultra-long-haul distance travellers.
Evening Standard reported that the international distance bands will be set at 0-2,000 miles, 2,000-5,500 miles and 5,500 miles-plus, and the applicable APD rates will be £13, £87 and £91 (about R270, R1 800 and R1 900) respectively for economy passengers.
The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) director general, Willie Walsh, said it was "astonishing" that the UK chancellor thought now would be the right time to raise the cost of flying.
"Masquerading this cash grab as a green tax the week before COP26 is the height of political hypocrisy that people are fed up with. Just two weeks ago the global airline sector committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050,“ he said.
“The aim is to keep flying both affordable and make it sustainable. A tax hike does not help. We know that none of the billions of pounds collected will be directed to green investments.
"Moreover, placing an even larger APD financial barrier between the UK and the world makes a mockery of the Global Britain ambition by dealing yet another blow to the UK’s competitiveness. The reduction in domestic APD tells us that the government understands the economic destruction that APD causes. It should apply this wisdom to international connectivity and aim to boost UK competitiveness by eliminating APD completely,“ Walsh added.