London, March 1 (IANS) An additional tax will be added to outbound flights from London’s Heathrow Airport from April, adding pressure on many families who want to travel abroad after a year of Covid-19 restrictions, a local media report said.
The airport will charge an extra 8.90 pounds ($12), also known as the ‘UK Exceptional Regulatory Charge’, to all outgoing flights from April, increasing the fees it already levies which include baggage handling, water, electricity and other services, Xinhua news agency quoted the London-based Evening Standard newspaper as saying in the report on Sunday.
This means a family of five booking a summer holiday with flag carrier British Airways will now pay an extra 44.50 pounds for using the airport, said the newspaper.
The stealth tax, which must be passed by airlines to Heathrow, is an attempt to recover from the airport’s financial loss last year when a decrease in travel and passenger numbers left the airport with losses of 2 billion pounds last year due to the pandemic, according to the Evening Standard report.
“Heathrow makes absolutely zero profit from these services. The price is calculated purely to cover the cost of operating and maintaining the infrastructure that supports them,” an airport spokesperson told the newspaper.
Heathrow reported an annual loss of 2 billion pounds in 2020 as the pandemic closed borders and the government restricted most international travel.
The number of passengers who passed through slumped to 22.1 million last year — more than half of whom travelled in January and February 2020 — a fall of 73 per cent compared with a year earlier and the smallest annual total since 1975, the Guardian newspaper reported.
Cargo volumes also fell by 28 per cent during 2020, although some dedicated cargo flights helped the airport offset some of the lost passenger travel, said the newspaper.