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14 Jun 2018

BY James Chapple

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Israel, Jordan and Egypt to lobby government for APD relief

Israel, Jordan and Egypt are calling on the UK government to cut Air Passenger Duty (APD) on flights to the region to help boost flourish.

APD - paper plane, pound coins (stock)
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Israel, Jordan and Egypt to lobby government for APD relief

All three countries are classified by the Treasury as “long-haul” band B destinations, flights to which carry a higher rate of APD per passenger.


“Short-haul” band A destinations are those where their respective capitals are within 2,000 miles of London, unless otherwise exempted, or within the EU.


Band B destinations are those 2,001 miles or further from the capital - Cairo is around 2,200 miles from London, Jerusalem 2,250, Amman 2,300 and Sharm el Sheikh 2,450.


APD is charged according to cabin class too, with different rates for economy (“reduced”) and upper (“standard”).


Based on the government’s April 2018 price structure, re-zoning Israel, Jordan and Egypt would cut APD by £65 and £130 per economy or upper passenger respectively.

 

The government is proposing to further increase band B rates in April 2019.

 

MORE: What are the actual benefits of APD?


The three countries’ tourist boards have this week called for action on APD, with Israel and Jordan joining forces to lobby the government.


Sharon Bershadsky, director of the Israel Government Tourist Office in London, said: “We are submitting a request to the UK Government to look at re-zoning our region.


“Israel, as well as Jordan and Egypt, can all be considered either the longest short-haul flight or the shortest long-haul flight, placing our countries just over the 2,000 mile cut-off for the lower rate of APD.


“Israel’s tourist numbers would greatly benefit by lowering the cost of holidays, as would Egypt and Jordan.


“We hope all parties will see the advantages for re-zoning. Not only will it benefit travellers who wish to visit the area, it will benefit companies who work within the travel industry - both in the UK and abroad - with increased revenue.”


A spokesperson for Jordan Tourist Board confirmed to TTG it would also lobby the government in partnership with Israel, adding it had requested an official letter from the Jordanian ambassador to the UK.


Amr El Ezabi, UK and Ireland director for the Egyptian State Tourist Authority, added Egypt had been in negotiation with the government to reduce APD.


“The different between [bands] A and B is five or six times,” he said. “This is what we want to discuss with the British government. We need to make it clear that we are really suffering a great injustice vis-a-vis APD.”

 

What is APD? And why is it controversial?

What is APD? And why is it controversial?

APD was introduced in 1994 at a flat rate of £5 for flights to UK/EU destinations and £10 elsewhere but has increased significantly since then.

 

The band A reduced rate has risen to £13 and band B to £78, while the band A standard rate has gone up to £26 and band B to £156 (rising to £172 from April 1, 2019).


Band B non-EU exemptions include Russia (west of the Urals) and Ukraine, as well as Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Turkey.


From March 2016, children under 16 have not been chargeable passengers.


APD has been widely criticised, and blamed for the loss of some air routes.


IAG chairman Willie Walsh said APD had put the buffers on regional long-haul routes, handing an advantage to other EU nations.


Both Norwegian and Ryanair have axed Scottish routes, citing the Scottish government’s failure to deliver on a promise to half APD.

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