Virgin Atlantic Announces APD Sale

Encouraging news from Virgin Atlantic this week as the airline continues the ongoing battle against Air Passenger Duty (APD).

APD has been around for years and became controversial in 2008 when the Labour government restructured it, supposedly making it a green tax.

The old days, which saw the tax costing £5 in economy seats to Europe and £10 elsewhere with more charged for business and first class seats, went out the window.

Instead came four new bands based on mileage flown with higher charges, which were frequently increased in successive budgets.

The charges currently stand at Band A, 0-2,000 miles, £13 economy and £26 other seats; Band B, 2,001-4,000 miles, £65 economy and £130 other seats; Band C, 4,001-6,000 miles, £81 economy and £162 other seats and Band D, 6,000+ miles, £92 economy and £184 other seats.

Prices will next increase on April 1, 2013.

The tax predictably outrages airlines, travel firms and travel associations which have set up the campaign group A Fair Tax on Flying.

The group claims only five other European countries tax passengers flying overseas and the UK collects more than twice as much through this tax as all five of the other countries put together.

The tax’s bands are also nonsensical as the flight distance is measured to each country’s capital, not the ultimate destination, meaning you pay more to fly to the Caribbean than Hawaii.

Nor does it take account of improving green technology on aircraft or the number of passengers flying on a plane revenues raised are not ring fenced for green purposes.

So what are Virgin Atlantic doing?

Having launched a new route to Cancun last week, Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson announced the airline would hold a two-day, APD-free sale of flights to the destination.

It will take place on July 14-15 and be applicable for travel dates from August 28 to December 5, 2012, and January 1 to March 12, 2013.

While prices will fluctuate heavily during the sale, it does mean prices will start at £200, with £336.30 of other taxes, as opposed to £281, with £336.30 of other taxes.

Indeed, no matter what the cost you pay, a family of four will still make a saving of £324 if they book during the sale.

So that way you can feel good about making a point over APD, while saving a lot of money too.