Sky high UK taxes forces BA to rethink Caribbean destinations

More information surfaced Monday afternoon about the decision by British Airways to pull out of Montego Bay, St James and reduce flights to other Caribbean destinations.

It now appears that the decision is linked to the UK’s sky-high Air Passenger Duty.

UK airlines, the Jamaican Diaspora in the UK, a number of British politicians, Caribbean leaders and other groups, had even appealed and protested to the British government to scrap what they described as an unfair and destructive tax, without success.

Reports in England on Monday, are that as a result of the tax, British Airways has decided to reduce its flights to the Caribbean, and increase its service to Florida.

Florida which is a holiday destination currently has a 20 percent lower tax rate than the Caribbean islands.

With the environment tax, a family of four flying economy class from the UK to Florida pays 240 pounds sterling, while a similar family travelling to the Caribbean has to pay 300 pounds.
British Airways points out that these rates are more than double what a family from Germany would pay.

At the same time, a family jetting out from France would be charged just 15 pounds, while there is no aviation tax at all for 22 European Union countries.

British Airways which returned to Montego Bay in 2009 after a seven-year absence made its decision public last week.

As a result the airline will no longer fly to the tourist resort twice per week from London, Gatwick.

Instead one of its Montego Bay flights will be re-routed to Kingston, resulting in three weekly flights to Jamaica’s capital and the other rerouted to Antigua.Only recently Virgin Atlantic which controversially purchased Air Jamaica slots at London Heathrow and used it to fly to Barbados announced that it was abandoning its London to Kingston route in April 2012.

This is just months ahead of the Olympic games in London where many Jamaicans are expected to attend. However, Virgin will continue flying from London to Montego Bay.

It’s understood that with the Air Passenger Duty, (APD) being cited in the UK for British Airway’s pull out, air travelers to Jamaica from London have been travelling via Miami and other USA destinations.

This is with a lower APD banding than the Caribbean, even when Miami is further than some Caribbean destinations.

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15 Comments

  1. September 20, 2011

    If that is hurting European Travel to the Caribbean, thnk about what the caribbean is doing to our regional Airline LIAT. Now al you see what goes on i Aviation and how taxes hamper airfares get that in all you thick skuls.

  2. Alas
    September 20, 2011

    when the British come to the Caribbean onvacation and they are raped and killed don’t you think that their government will think of creative ways to persuade them from coming?

  3. Anti-hate
    September 20, 2011

    All of you jack-a*** like Mouth of the South who like kissing America and Europe a** and think they care about us. THEY DON’T!!

    They destroyed our bananas and now destroying our tourism. Meanwhile China, Libya etc were giving us concrete assistance yet you silly sheep allow yourselves to get brainwashed by the American media, and demonize our real allies against imperialism.

    Silly fools!!!

  4. Sout Man
    September 20, 2011

    They could not give our bananas preferential treatment but they can give US destinations preferential treatment. I wonder what former President Bill Clinton thinks of these unfair taxes.

  5. Way out There
    September 20, 2011

    Considering the trend in the airlines business these days, is it possible an int’l airport would have hurt us?

  6. G I Joe
    September 20, 2011

    The higher tax imposed on Caribbean routes compared to US routes has more to do with competition than distance.

    If the British keep this us, they will find many people who fly to Europe will bypass London completely, resulting in serious harm to their industry.

    One thing is for sure, these Europeans are never shy about imposing new taxes.

  7. Mary joe
    September 20, 2011

    The UK is doing what they do best divide and rule, making sure that the so call 1st world, stays that way, the Caribbean is seen as 3rd world to them, so they are doing their best to keep it that way!

    • 1979 has NO country
      September 20, 2011

      SMH, do you think you are third world??? our first blow to countering this stigma is to first take it out of our minds….have you ever heard of the self fulfilling prophecy….it means that whatever you think of yourself is exactly what you will become….we and the way we think are our limitations.

  8. Cerberus
    September 20, 2011

    I think a case ould be made for a charge of discrimination against Caribbean destinations v. those in the U.S.A. (which are subject to alower U.K. tax regime).

    • 1979 has NO country
      September 20, 2011

      no brother, I usually agree with your comments when they are made, but I cannot agree with you there. We as a Caribbean people must welcome challenges and the opportunity they create for us to be creative. if we continuously sulk and play the role of the victim at every obstacle we meet where will we go??? we as a people need to rise to the occasion.

  9. Satelite
    September 20, 2011

    The more they have, the more they want, not thinking of the consequences. At the end of the day, it’s the consumers and customers that suffer; and if we chose not to travel, or travel less frequent, the airlines will begin to realise a decline in profits. So where do we go from here?

    • Anonymous
      September 20, 2011

      It is not the airlines fault though, it is the greedy conservative government. Imagine a flight to D/ca would cost £400 but the greedy government adding another £300 to that for tax. That is now much less when they do the increase.

      • 1979 has NO country
        September 20, 2011

        SMH :(

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
      • Anon Again
        September 20, 2011

        It’s not the Conservatives. It was introduced by the Labour Government. The Conservatives froze it at the level the Labour Government had it and has been having consultations with the Caribbean and industry in the UK on the way forward. It’s a punitive tax that will hurt the Caribbean

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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