Expats avoid UK Airport Tax

Expats and frequent fliers are avoiding UK airport taxes by rerouting their long-haul trips.

One in 10 expats visiting Britain are saving hundreds of pounds in air passenger duty by switching departures to foreign airports, says research by Sainsbury’s Travel Money.

One family of four pocketed £760 in savings by booking flights to Sydney from Amsterdam instead of London, taking a short hop across the North Sea to join their long haul flight.

Other European hubs are cashing in on avoiding the tax, with Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid and Rome all taking business from the UK.

The survey of 2,000 fliers found 14% of fliers out of Britain would book a short-haul flight to a non-UK airport, stopover and then take a separate long-haul flight to continue their journey.

The extra tax has led 16% to take a short-haul holiday rather than fly long distance and 13% chose destinations in cheaper tax zones.

The firm’s David Barrett said: “Our research suggests that expats and families are rethinking their plans because of the increased level of tax placed on some flights through air passenger duty.

“It appears that many are willing to do all they can to get around it, from avoiding air travel altogether to taking long-haul flights from more competitively priced European airports.”

The survey disclosed that a passenger flying economy from London to Sydney could pay £190 more in taxes and fees than if travelling from Amsterdam.

Passengers flying economy from London to Cape Town would expect to pay £460 in taxes and fees, but just £347 leaving from Rome, £326 from Amsterdam or £318 from Paris.

Air passenger duty is charged depending on the flight distance and class travelled from London – the cheapest rate is £13 for short haul flights up to 2,000 miles in economy, while long haul flights of 6,000 miles or more in other classes can cost up to £184 per passenger.

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