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Air Passenger Duty

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his policy is on offering lowered rate of air passenger duty to European countries; and on what basis (a) Switzerland is included and (b) Belarus is excluded. [111545]

Since 1 November 2002, the lower rates of air passenger duty (£5 for the lowest class of travel and £10 for all other classes) apply not only to flights to European Economic Area (EEA) countries and certain European Union Member States' dependent territories, but also, as part of our policy of supporting EU enlargement, to all EU applicant countries (Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, and Turkey). The lower rates were also extended to flights to all airports in Switzerland. This corrected the anomaly that two Swiss airports—Basel and Geneva—qualified for the lower rates of duty (because passengers can exit from them directly to EEA territory), while other Swiss airports did not.Flights to Belarus do not qualify for the lower rates of air passenger duty because Belarus is not part of the EEA nor is it an EU applicant country, nor is there any anomaly such as existed in Switzerland prior to the November 2002 changes.