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Air Passenger Duty

Courtesy: Bahamas Ministry of Tourism

The UK currently imposes an Air Passenger Duty (APD) on all passengers departing from UK airports. The tax was introduced by the Conservative Government in 1994 as a "green tax" designed to account for aviation's impact on the environment but since then there has been no indication how the GBP 1.9 billion collected in 2009/10 was applied.

There were originally two 'bands' for APD- one for European destinations, and one for all non-European destinations, which included the Caribbean. At that time the tax on non-European destinations was set at £40 on an economy ticket. Following a consultation, the Labour Government announced in April 2009 plans to revise the Air Passenger Duty so that the amount charged was based on a four-tier banding system. Bands were based on the distance between London and the destination country's capital city. It was also designed to ensure that passengers directly transiting UK airports paid the tax.

In doing so the British Government placed the Caribbean in Band C - a more expensive tax category than the whole of the USA which was placed in Band B; meaning that tax on a flight to Hawaii or Los Angeles was less than to the Caribbean.

The flight tax to the Caribbean increased on 1 November 2009 by 25 % and in November 2010 the tax on flights from the UK to the Caribbean increased by a further 50 % in all classes of travel. 

Since 1 November 2010, passengers leaving the UK to the Caribbean are charged £75 per person in economy and £150 per person in Premium Economy, Business Class and First/Upper Class. This is on top of any other taxes and surcharges that are levied, and of course is on top of the basic fare. The Coalition Government announced in June 2010 that it will explore changes to the aviation tax system, including switching from a per-passenger to a per-plane duty and that any major changes would be subject to public consultation.

Writing a letter to your MP is a great way to get your message across. For every constituent who makes the effort to write a letter, MPs will know there are many more who are just as concerned about the same issue but don't bother writing. If the tax increase is making it more difficult for you to visit friends and relatives you need to tell people.

The Caribbean-Britain Business Council has produced a letter for you to amend and add to however you like. It is important that you add your name and home address so that the MP knows you live in their constituency. To print off the draft letter and details about where to send it, visit http://www.cb-bc.org/AirPassengerDuty.htm