APD was introduced in the Finance Act 1994. It is a duty of excise, which is levied on the carriage, from a UK airport, of chargeable passengers on chargeable aircraft. It came into effect on 1 November 1994.
APD becomes due when the aircraft takes off. If no chargeable flight takes place, then no duty is due.
For the purposes of APD, those parts of the British Isles for which the United Kingdom has responsibility are the countries of:
- Scotland (but only until the provisions devolving APD to the Scottish Government included in the Scotland Bill 2015 come into effect) ;
- Wales; and
- the Province of Northern Ireland (but note that the power to set APD rates on direct long-haul flights departing from Northern Ireland is devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly).
Note : The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are not part of the UK for APD purposes.
A chronology of the main policy changes can be found in APD1600.