Travellers passing through two of the world’s most popular international airports for Australians heading to Europe face an increase in charges.
From 30 June 2016, Dubai International Airport, the Qantas hub for flights to Europe, will charge airline passengers, including those in transit, a departure tax.
The tax is 35 Emirati dirhams (AED), which works out at AUD 12.90. Importantly, transit passengers departing on the same flight number on which they arrived are exempt from paying the fee, which will help many long-haul travellers. Passengers below two years old and cabin crew are also exempt.
Airlines have already started collecting the fees, which will help fund further airport expansion as the Gulf region adapts adapt to dwindling oil revenue.
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.
MEANWHILE, Airport Authority Hong Kong has confirmed that an “airport construction fee” (ACF) will be collected on air tickets issued on or after 1 August 2016.
Airlines will collect the ACF from departing passengers, including origin-destination and transit/transfer, at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) when air tickets are issued. Tickets issued before 1 August 2016 will not incur the ACF.
Money will go towards building the airport’s third runway, a multi-billion-dollar exercise.
The charging rate depends on flight distance, ticket class, and whether the flight type is origin-destination or transit/transfer.
The ACF for short-haul departing passengers flying in economy class is HKD 90 (AUD 15.75), while the fee for short-haul passengers in first/business class is HKD 160 (AUD 28). For long-haul passengers, the fee for economy and first/business class tickets are HKD 160 (AUD 28) and HKD 180 (AUD 31.50) respectively.
The ACF for short-haul transit/transfer passengers in economy class is HKD 70 (AUD 12.25). It is expected that about 70% of passengers departing from HKIA will pay an ACF of HKD 90 or less.
For the purposes of the charge, “long haul” counts as North and South Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Southwest Pacific and the Indian Subcontinent. “Short haul” is everywhere else.
Written by Peter Needham