Guidance

Rates for air passenger duty

Check which rates of air passenger duty you need to pay and how to fill in your return to HMRC.

Rate bands

There are 2 destination bands:

  • A where the distance from London to the destination country’s capital city is between 0 to 2,000 miles
  • B where the distance from London to the destination country’s capital city is over 2,000 miles

Duty is charged on each passenger at the rate for the place where their journey ends (their final destination).

Band A destinations are:

  • all countries in the EU and EEA including Corsica, Gibraltar, Madeira, Sicily, Svalbard, The Azores, The Balearic Islands, The Canary Islands and Western Sahara
  • non-EU countries - Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia
  • independent regions - the Channel Islands, Isle of Man
  • non-EU countries - Albania, Andorra, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, Russian Federation (west of the Urals only), Greenland, Faroe Islands, San Marino, Serbia, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Kosovo

Any other destinations fall into band B.

How to work out what destination band the final destination is in

The original place of departure and the final place of destination is what’s shown on the ticket unless:

  • a journey includes 2 or more flights
  • any of those flights are not followed by a connected flight

A passenger’s final destination is where their journey ends. If the journey is made of one flight the final destination is where that flight ends. If the journey includes more than one flight, and the flights are connected, the final destination is where the last flight ends and is not followed by a connected flight.

Rate types

There are 3 rates of duty for each destination band depending on the class of travel.

Reduced rate

For travel in the lowest class of travel available on the plane for seat pitches less than 1.016 metres (40 inches).

Standard rate

For travel in any other class of travel or where the seat pitch is more than 1.016 metres (40 inches).

Higher rate

For travel in planes of 20 tonnes or more equipped to carry fewer than 19 passengers.

Classes of travel

If the passengers have different standards of comfort, service, privacy or amenities, they’re in different classes of travel.

Better seats at no extra cost on first-come first-served basis

If the plane has different cabins or seating areas, passengers are not in a higher class as long as both the following apply:

  • there is no extra cost for a better seat
  • the better seating is available on a ‘first come first served’ basis, whether at the booking stage or when they get on the plane

Packages and seat-only

Seats bought from a tour operator as part of a package are not a different class to seats bought on a flight-only basis.

On-board purchases, seating preferences and other benefits

The following on their own do not affect the class of travel, but may do so if they form part of a package of benefits:

  • buying goods and services on board unless they add up to an upgrade
  • paying extra to choose a seat, as long as it is not a better class of seat
  • paying extra to sit next to an empty seat
  • paying for an empty seat
  • paying extra for a seat with extra legroom, as long as:
    • the seat is not separated from the ordinary seats in any way
    • there are no other benefits linked with the seat
  • paying extra for benefits such as:
    • pre-booking
    • reduced check in times
    • fast track through security
    • priority boarding
    • access to VIP lounges
    • transport to or from the airport
    • better baggage allowances

Upgrades

If a passenger pays to upgrade at any stage in the journey, then they’re travelling in the higher class.

The same applies to free upgrades if there’s an element of entitlement or priority not enjoyed by other standard class passengers. For example ‘perks’ enjoyed by airline employees.

A passenger remains in standard class if they get a free upgrade but has no expectation of, or entitlement to one.

Calculate what you owe

To calculate the duty you owe:

  • work out the number of passengers in each band (A or B), less any exempt passengers
  • identify the class of travel for each and whether they’re carried in a plane that attracts the higher rate
  • apply the relevant rate to this number to get the amount of duty you owe

For private jets, if the seats on your aircraft have seat pitches both above and below 40 inches, you may need to apply both reduced and standard rates. To account for duty, you should apply the:

  • standard rate to all passengers if the number of passengers is less than, or equal to the number of seats over 40 inches
  • standard rate to the number of passengers that equal the number of 40 inch plus seats, if the number of passengers exceeds the number of 40 inch plus seats
  • reduced rate to the rest

Rates for flights starting in the UK

Duty rates for flights starting from UK airports, excluding Northern Ireland and the Scottish Highlands and Islands region.

Rates from 1 April 2018

Destination bands Reduced rate Standard rate Higher rate
Band A £13 £26 £78
Band B £78 £156 £468

Rates from 1 April 2019

Destination bands Reduced rate Standard rate Higher rate
Band A £13 £26 £78
Band B £78 £172 £515

Check which duty rates apply for years earlier than the current year.

Rates for flights starting in Northern Ireland

You do not pay duty on direct long-haul flights departing from airports in Northern Ireland. A flight is a ‘direct long-haul flight’ when:

  • the passenger’s journey begins from an airport in Northern Ireland
  • the first part of the journey is to a destination outside band A
  • that part of the journey is direct and doesn’t connect elsewhere beforehand

You do not need to declare these flights on your return. Instead you’ll need to give the relevant information on a quarterly basis in a separate spreadsheet to the Central Assurance Team (CAT).

Please contact the team by email if you think this applies to you.

You’ll still need to declare indirect long-haul band A and B flights on your return.

Rates from 1 April 2018

Destination bands   Rates (reduced, standard or higher)  
    Direct Indirect
Band A Reduced £13 £13
- Standard £26 £26
- Higher £78 £78
       
Band B Reduced £0 £78
- Standard £0 £156
- Higher £0 £468

Rates from 1 April 2019

Destination bands   Rates (reduced, standard or higher)  
    Direct Indirect
Band A Reduced £13 £13
- Standard £26 £26
- Higher £78 £78
       
Band B Reduced £0 £78
- Standard £0 £172
- Higher £0 £515

Check which duty rates apply for years earlier than the current year.

Published 29 January 2018
Last updated 14 May 2018 + show all updates
  1. 2019 rates added and 2017 rates removed and added to air passenger duty historic rates guidance.
  2. First published.