News Americas, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Weds. Mar. 19, 2014: Officials of the Caribbean Tourism Organization has welcomed the announcement by Chancellor George Osborne that the British government will reform the controversial Air Passenger Duty next year.
Amidst intense lobbying, Chancellor George in today’s Budget, announced that from April 1, 2015, all long-haul flights will be moved into band B, meaning customers travelling to the Caribbean will pay the same as if they were travelling to the US.
From April 1, 2015, APD on long-haul flights between 4,001 and 6,000 miles will be reduced by £16 per person, while those over 6,000 miles will be cut by £27.
APD is currently calculated by measuring the distance between London and the final destination’s capital city, with different contributions divided into four bands.
Band A covers flights of less than 2,000 miles, B those between 2,001 and 4,000 miles, C applies between 4,001 and 6,000, and D to those further than 6,000 miles.
The decision was made “to help British businesses strengthen links with high growth markets, and to go further to make the UK an attractive option for business visitors and tourists,” the Budget document stated. The reform is expected to save passengers and businesses travelling long-haul more than £200 million annually.
Chancellor George also confirmed that private flights would be charged APD.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization said it is “delighted” with the announcement.
Beverly Nicholson-Doty, chairman of the CTO in a statement said: “We are delighted that the Chancellor has finally accepted the Caribbean’s proposal made in November 2010 to return to the simpler and fairer two band system.
“This is a complete victory for the Caribbean, which, led by the CTO, has been lobbying against the unfair system which charged a higher rate of APD on flights to Barbados than Hawaii and placed the United States at a competitive advantage.”
She added that the CTO will continue to advocate on behalf of the Caribbean tourism sector.
APD has risen by up to 470 per cent since 2007, making passengers flying from UK airports among the most heavily taxed in the world.