BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization said Wednesday it was “delighted” with the announcement by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne that Britain’s Air Passenger Duty is to be reformed.
Beginning in April 2015, the APD, also known as the flight tax, will use a simplified two-band system, Osborne said in his budget speech to Parliament.
The Band A rate will apply to all flights of less than 2000 miles from London, while longer flights will fall into Band B.
The previous system determined the rate based on the distance between London and the capital city of the destination country.
“This is a complete victory for the Caribbean, which, led by the CTO, has been lobbying against the unfair system which charged a higher rate of APD on flights to Barbados than Hawaii,” CTO Chairman Beverly Nicholson-Doty said.
“We are delighted that the chancellor has finally accepted the Caribbean’s proposal made in November 2010 to return to the simpler and fairer two band system” she said.
“Rest assured that the CTO, with support of our partners, will continue to advocate on behalf of the Caribbean tourism sector,” she said.
International airlines also welcomed Osborne’s announcement, with a spokesman for Virgin Atlantic calling it “a very welcome simplification to remove some of the biggest distortions of the current system, which the chancellor himself admitted is crazy and unjust.”
“The government has rightly recognized the damage APD is having on exporters and the travelling public alike,” the spokesman said.