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Posted On: 26 November 2008 08:00 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

UK-Doha flights to get costlier

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Fares from the UK to Doha are set to increase from 2009 under new passenger taxes introduced by the cash-strapped British government. By 2010, those heading to Qatar from London could be slugged an extra QR327 for an economy class seat and QR654 for a “premium” seat, business or first class. But, in bad news for travellers, the first round of increases will take effect from next year. From November 1, 2009, the air passenger duty (APD) will be based on the distance from London to the capital city of the country where the flight lands, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling revealed this week. The tax for flying out of British airports is to be raised by at least 10 percent and will double in some cases by 2010, affecting all passengers flying through or from the UK. The APD will be based on four bands set at intervals of 2,000 miles from London. Band A, covering EU flights, will rise from the current £10 (QR55) each way to £11 (QR60) on November 1, 2009, and to £12 (QR65) in November 2010. Band B, incorporating flights of up to 4,000 miles (covering Doha, which is 3,245 miles by air from London), will increase from £40 (QR218) one-way to £45 (QR245), and then to £60 (QR327). Band C, covering longer distances, including Caribbean flights, will go up from £40 (QR218) one-way to £50 (QR273), and then £75 (QR409). Band D, covering the longest flights, such as those to Asia and Australia, will increase from £40 (QR218) one-way to £60 (QR327), and then £85 (QR464). Taxes on premium passengers will be double those rates. The current system has two bands, one made up of the European Economic Area, the European Common Aviation Area, countries applying to join the EU, and Switzerland, and a second band covering all other destinations. The plan is part of the UK government’s stimulus package to address the effects of the recession. Darling said the APD would also help offset environmental damage. But a spokesman for Qatar Airways told The Peninsula last night that ultimately passengers would be forced to pay extra. “All the airlines operating from the UK, including Qatar Airways, will be affected by the decision,” the spokesman said. “Eventually the passengers will have to bear the brunt of the tax hike. Qatar Airways has not been hit by the economic crisis so far and is in a very solid position.” “The tax rates proposed will mean that UK passengers by 2010 will be paying more or less double current APD rates on flights of more than 4,000 miles,” the spokesperson said. “There can be no environmental justification for this, and extra taxation is a further blow to the industry at a time when it is reeling from the combined effects of rising costs and falling demand.”