Heathrow Airport adds new passenger tax to cover pandemic impact

London’s Heathrow Airport has introduced a new passenger tax that will cost travellers an extra £8.90 (A$15.90) on all flights.

The new passenger fee, dubbed ‘Airport Cost Recovery Charge,’ quietly came into effect from 1 January 2021 and applies to all departing flights.

The purpose of the passenger tax is to recover some of the losses caused by the pandemic. According to the airport, the severe drop in passenger numbers due to COVID-19 caused an annual loss of £2 billion.

Heathrow Airport has introduced a new passenger tax in 2021 © Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport says the passenger tax “has been introduced at the request of the airlines as an alternative way to recover costs related to airline [Other Regulated Charges] such as Baggage, PRS, FEGP and Common Use IT”.

The airport also made it clear that the current fee of £8.90 (A$15.90) is variable, saying it may be “adjusted during the year to achieve full cost recovery”.

However, the good news is, it’s not intended to be permanent. It may even be scrapped entirely by the end of 2021.

Increased existing fees

Heathrow Airport already has a reputation for charging high fees and it seems some of these have also increased.

Baggage services have increased from £3.67 (A$6.54) in 2020 to £4.44 (A$7.92) in 2021. And a new fee of 55p (A$1.00) has been added for check-in desks, according to The Mirror UK.

The airport has also increased some of its existing fees such as baggage services. © Heathrow Airport

Typically, these additional charges are bundled into the total price of your ticket, making it hard for passengers to notice.

However, it’s interesting to note, when you’re booking a low-cost domestic flight out of Heathrow Airport, the total cost of taxes can sometimes come close to the cost of the ticket itself.

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