UK Air Passenger Duty
UK Air Passenger Duty (APD) is an excise duty on passengers departing from a UK airport*. It was first introduced in 1994 to regulate bigger aircraft. Exempted were aircraft not authorized to seat 20 or more persons, or aircraft with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of less than 10 tonnes (22,000 lbs). Since 1 April 2013, the scope of the APD extends to business jets with a MTOW above 5.7 tonnes (12,500 lbs).
What is UK Air Passenger Duty?
UK Air Passenger Duty is levied on the carriage, from a UK airport, of passengers on board aircraft with a MTOW of more than 5.7 tonnes (12,500 lbs). The amount due per passenger depends on the aircraft (MTOW, seat pitch, seating capacity) and the geographical distance of the capital city of the destination country/territory from London (UK). The combination of distance and aircraft characteristics makes twelve different rates of duty in total. From 1 April 2023, the highest rate (£ 601 per passenger) is due if 1) the distance is over 5,500 miles and 2) the aircraft has a MTOW of more than 20 tonnes and is equipped to carry fewer than 19 passengers. Passengers are charged at the lowest rate of £ 6.50 if the seat pitch is less than 40 inches, the destination is within the UK and the aircraft used does not meet the criteria of a larger business jet, as defined above.
Did you know?
APD is not to be confounded with the landing and passenger charges paid through the handler to the airport operator. The competent authority administering APD is Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Who is liable for APD?
Since 1 April 2013, APD is charged on passenger transport services provided in fixed wing aircraft with a MTOW of more than 5.7 tonnes (12,500 lbs). Several exemptions apply for passengers and flights. For instance, crew members or persons undertaking repair, maintenance, safety or security work are exempt. Certain flights, such as emergency or public service flights, or aircraft making a tech stop, are also outside the scope of the APD.
To see all the other flight and passenger exemptions, check out UK APD - The Ultimate Guide.
Obligations under the APD
Aircraft operators must submit a declaration and make payment of APD within 7 days of the flight taking place.
Aircraft operators which are likely to make more than twelve flights a year from UK airports, or with an annual APD liability of more than £5,000 must:
- appoint a fiscal or administrative representative (such as FCC Aviation) if the operator has no business or other fixed establishment in the UK
- provide security for administrative representative (that is a fiscal representative appointed for administrative purposes only) if the estimated APD liability is above £25,000 over a 12 month period, and for payment of duty (if HMRC considers tax at risk of being unpaid)
- register within seven days of a chargeable flight taking place
- submit APD returns on a monthly or annual basis
- make payments of APD by the 29th day immediately following the end of the accounting period to which the return relates
- notify changes of registration details
- keep records and accounts for six years
* The UK consists of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are not part of the UK.