01/04/2012 02:54 BST | Updated 31/05/2012 06:12 BST

Air Passenger Duty Causes Tickets To Rise By 8% From Sunday

Higher rates of the air passenger duty (APD) airport departure tax took effect on Sunday, hitting passengers with a ticket increase of around 8%.

Airline chiefs urged Chancellor George Osborne to re-examine plans for further APD hikes, while the British Air Transport Association (BATA) said APD was "a tax on tourism".

Today's increase will mean a family of four flying, say, to Florida, will have to pay a total of £260 in APD, while a family of four jetting off to Australia will be forking out a total of £368.

As the Treasury is intending to increase APD revenue up to 2016, air passengers are facing further increases which could push APD for a family of four travelling to Australia up to £500.

EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary, Virgin Atlantic chief executive Steve Ridgway today joined Willie Walsh, boss of British Airways' parent company IAG, in condemning the latest rise.

They said: "APD rises again on April Fool's Day but the public should not be fooled again by this tax and the damage it does to them, to jobs and to the wider economy.

"We urge George Osborne to make APD the first tax to be examined under the Treasury's new review of the wider impacts of taxation on the economy and to halt the proposed rise until this review is complete."

BATA chief executive Simon Buck said: "It beggars belief that APD is rising yet again and by such a vast amount today.

"It has become a tax on tourism, making it increasingly difficult for ordinary families to afford their annual summer getaway.

Here in Britain we already pay the highest aviation duty of any country in Europe. The Government must end its obsession with raising ever-increasing sums from air passengers, which is pricing ordinary families out of the skies."

A HM Treasury spokesperson said: "The Government took action by freezing Air Passenger Duty last year and we've always been clear that APD would go up this April.

"The majority of passengers will only pay an extra £1 as a result of the rise. As announced at the Autumn Statement, we are also extending APD to private business jets for the first time.

"It is also worth noting that unlike some other European countries, the UK does not levy VAT on domestic flights and aviation fuel is not taxed.

"The aviation industry will also benefit from the record low corporation tax that takes effect from today."