The number of flights to the Caribbean will be cut by British Airways due to the rise of Air Passenger Duty tax. They will however be adding extra flights to Florida which although is not far away geographically does have 20 per cent lower APD.
British Airways have called for the government to scrap this unfair tax which sees UK travellers paying more than anywhere else and they say it’s a ‘destructive tax juggernaut’ and says the UK tourism industry suffers from the ‘heaviest tax burden in global aviation’.
Because of the way the tax system works BA have reduced the flights to the Caribbean because its expected that with higher charges less people will be travelling there. For example; a family of four of flying in economy class from the UK to the Caribbean pay £300 in APD whilst the same to Florida would only cost £240 in APD.
According to BA the amount paid in the UK is more than double what a family from Germany would pay and those travelling from France would only have to pay just £15. 22 of the EU countries don’t even charge travellers aviation tax so it’s not like legislation imposed by EU that is causing these high prices.
The Caribbean is worst hit because of the way the system works, countries are placed into band for the taxation and this is based on how far away the capital is from the UK. So travelling to the US to places like Florida or Hawaii is cheap even though further away, because Washington is closer to the UK passengers are charged less.
During the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) annual conference in St Maarten British Airways CEO Keith Williams told delegates that the strict tax regime was ‘jeopardising routes to the Caribbean’.
He said: “The Caribbean is a very important destination for us and we have a long and proud heritage of serving the region. However, we can’t deny the reality that demand is not as high as it has been. Taxation is most certainly a factor in this and sadly, a factor in our decision to reduce our frequency to the Caribbean next summer. It is no coincidence that our reduction in the number of services to the Caribbean is accompanied by a rise in services to Florida – another desirable holiday destination for UK sun-seekers, and a destination that is taxed at a rate 20 per cent less than the Caribbean.”
At the moment the government is conducting a review on APD with the results coming out in November however no one in the industry is sure there will be any reduction.