What are airport departure taxes?

Written by carol finch Google
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What are airport departure taxes?
Some UK airports charge an airport departure tax. (John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Airport departure taxes are fees charged by some airports before passengers board their flights. Airports use this money to fund ongoing and one-off maintenance and development projects. Some, but not all, UK airports levy this tax for both domestic and international flights. Passengers flying from the UK also have to pay a tax called Air Passenger Duty.

Charges and payment

The costs of airport departure taxes are set by individual airports. Not all countries have this tax across all facilities but some airports choose to levy it. Charges vary and are usually payable on a per person basis. Some airports will not charge for children under a certain age; others may waive the fee if you arrive and leave from the airport on the same day. In some cases, the departure tax is included in your ticket price. In others, you pay it online or in person at payment points in the airport before you board your flight.

Where the tax goes

Departure taxes usually go towards maintenance and development of the airport, its infrastructure and its routes. Some airports use the money to develop facilities and to pay for passenger services on an ongoing basis; others use it to pay for specific projects. This tax is also known as an Airport Development Fee (ADF) or a Passenger Facility Fee (PFF). Airports may, but don't have to, publicise exactly how the money is spent.

UK airport departure tax

As of June 2013, four UK airports charge some form of airport departure tax. These are Blackpool International, Durham Tees Valley, Norwich International and Newquay Cornwall. Ireland West Airport Knock and Galway in the Republic of Ireland also have charges. Other airports may have similar fees but these are charged to airlines as service charges. Airlines may include these in flight costs but passengers will not have to pay on departure.

Air Passenger Duty

Air Passenger Duty (APD) is often confused with airport departure taxes but the two are not the same. APD is a tax levied by the government via HM Revenue & Customs. Passenger planes of 5.7 tonnes or more pay a tax based on four destination bands. Each band starts at London and covers a specific distance. The further you fly, the more you will pay. This tax is collected when you buy your airline ticket as part of the overall price, although some airlines cover the cost for their passengers and do not charge them directly.

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