Britain’s aviation sector has welcomed a fresh government consultation on rates of Air Passenger Duty (APD) charged on domestic flights.
Wider proposals to improve regional connectivity across the UK were set out by prime minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday (10 March).
An interim "union connectivity review", led by former Network Rail chair Sir Peter Hendy, highlighted a review of domestic APD as being one key area of interest to stakeholders.
APD is charged on flights originating from the UK, hence return domestic flights are subject to APD on both the outbound and inbound leg of people’s journeys. The rate will rise to £26 per return flight next month.
Johnson said the consultation would seek to ensure better regional connectivity as the UK builds back from the Covid crisis, and as part of the government’s "levelling up" agenda.
"The government will also consult on cutting Air Passenger Duty on internal UK flights," said the Department for Transport (DfT).
The consultation is expected to get under way in the spring; options, said the DfT, will include reintroducing a return leg exemption, or creating a new lower domestic rate.
Charging APD on just one leg of the journey would effectively halve the tax. Reports in the national press suggest a lower rate of £7 per journey leg would be another way of almost halving the tax.
The government will also at the viability of increasing the number of international distance bands for APD, and further efforts to decarbonise domestic aviation – potentially through mandating the use of sustainable aviation fuels.
Johnson said he wanted to cut passenger duty on domestic flights to "support connectivity across the country".