Dubai International Airport, the Qantas hub for flights to Europe, is about to launch an departure tax on airline passengers, including those in transit.
The tax is 35 Emirati dirhams (AED), which works out at AUD 12.45. Importantly, transit passengers departing on the same flight number on which they arrived are exempt, which will help many long-haul travellers.
Full details of how the tax will be collected have yet to be announced, but Dubai’s airports are in charge of collecting it when they issue tickets. The fee will be imposed from 30 June 2016, according to Dubai’s WAM News Agency.
A report in Abu Dhabi-based publication The National said cabin crew and passengers under two years old would also be exempt, along with pax entering and exiting on the same flight number. The National pointed out that other countries charging a departure tax “include Australia, Germany, China and the UK”.
A report in the Guardian said Dubai’s first airport fee on passengers would help fund further airport expansion “as the Gulf region seeks to adapt to dwindling oil revenue”. The price of oil is historically low, which helps airlines but vexes oil-producing states.
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority recently doubled on-street parking fees in some areas of Dubai – another revenue raiser, though it’s officially aimed at persuading more people to use public transport.
Dubai international airport handled more than 78 million passengers in 2015 and reportedly overtook London Heathrow in 2014 as the world’s busiest airport. About 100 million passengers are projected to pass through Dubai airports annually by 2023.
Written by Peter Needham