It’s bye-bye to Air Passenger Duty on long-haul Avios redemptions from certain UK cities

As I wrote yesterday, a selection of Flybe flights are now available for redemption using Avios points on

I was probably a little harsh in that article on the value you can get from these redemptions – it seems I picked a bad example.  Readers were happy to show me Flybe flights priced at up to €360 which were available for 4,500 Avios points.

Flybe flies to a number of small airports in the UK where the Air Passenger Duty regime does not applyTo quote from the Flybe website here:

The UK is the most taxed aviation market in the world, with the possible exception of Chad

The following [Flybe] departure airports are already exempt from APD : 

Benbecula, Barra, Campbeltown, Guernsey, Islay, Inverness, Jersey, Kirkwall, Sumburgh, Stornoway, Tiree and Wick

The following routes are already exempt from APD:

London Stansted – Dundee

London Gatwick – Newquay

The ability to avoid APD applies to any flight which connects to a flight from one of the airports above.  This leads to some impressive savings.

Flybe London City

Let’s take the Cathay Pacific flight from Manchester to Hong Kong.

A one-way business class redemption on that route costs 60,000 Avios + £187.

(By the way, Cathay Pacific is offering EIGHT business class seats for redemption on that route on some flights!)

However, if you book Inverness – Manchester – Hong Kong, the cost changes to 64,500 Avios + £70.  A saving of £117 may not be enough to make it worthwhile buying a one-way ticket to Inverness to start your trip, but if you live in Scotland it certainly looks attractive.  Similar deals are available via London if you fly down from Inverness and connect to a Heathrow or Gatwick flight.

Here is another example:

Heathrow to New York in Club World, one-way, costs 40,000 Avios + £351.

However, if you book Newquay – Gatwick and Heathrow – New York, the trip costs 44,500 Avios + £222.  You save £129 per person.

So, some good news if you live in Cornwall or northern Scotland.  The impact of the Avios changes has just been sharply reduced.  Other HFP readers with time of their hands will also be able to make modest savings if they fly to Inverness or Newquay to start their redemption.

(PS.  You only ‘lose’ the APD on the Newquay to Gatwick route.  If you use Flybe to fly from Newquay to Manchester or Stansted, full APD will be charged.)

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

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  1. Marta Briongos says:

    Very nice sleeper train service to Inverness too, if you have Red Spotted Hanky vouchers!

    • Nice Idea, but you can’t book the sleeper via RSH

      • Sadly this is true, however there is an East Coast service daily at 12:00 from King’s Cross to Inverness that there is usually decent rewards availability on if you have EC Rewards journeys to use up.

        Stay overnight in Inverness (Pentahotel is recommended – there is nothing like checking in whilst enjoying a cocktail – avoid the Mercure at all costs, or there is a Thistle that Raffles posted about a few weeks back and you could avail of the Sunday night free and have a weekend in Inverness before your holiday) then fly the following morning.

        • there is no way i would take a train from london to aberdeen just to fly back to london to avoid apd. i would rather take a eurostar to bru

  2. Do we think this was part of the plan to reduce alienation of people travelling from the regions following the Avios devaluation? Or just coincidence?

    • No Benbecula, Barra, Campbeltown, Guernsey, Islay, Inverness, Jersey, Kirkwall, Sumburgh, Stornoway, Tiree and Wick have been exempt from APD for years…

  3. Wouldn’t using two BA partners mean the multi-partner award table is used?

    Or is there an exception for domestic connections using FlyBe?

  4. Is it not just easier to fly JER-LGW on BA and then get the free tag on rather than spend extra on flyBe?

    (If you are based in the south that is!)

  5. Tom euflyer says:

    “The UK is the most taxed aviation market in the world, with the possible exception of Chad”

    Love it. My redemption flights to N’Djamena will just have to wait I suppose.

    • I couldn’t resist pasting that line in, even though it is from a different part of the page!

      • “The UK is the most taxed aviation market in the world, with the possible exception of Chad”

        Great line….but isn’t Canada right up there as well? For redemption and cash tickets, our next redemption trip will cost only $86 in taxes…versus appx $600 in Canada. Per ticket. (roughly same travel distance).

        Cheaper to fly from the US than from Canada (US border cities are great for North American travel).

  6. For most travellers not in Cornwall or the Highlands and Islands, the very modest savings made by routing via Inverness or Newquay are far outweighed by the time and expense of getting to any of these places from most urban centres in the UK. A train or flight ex London – Newquay or Inverness requires an extra day of annual leave for most people. But, at least it’s some good news to those who don’t live in London.

    • Different people have different priorities, though. If you’ve got the time to kill then you can save a few quid and have a day out as well. It clearly isn’t for everyone, but neither is hubbing via Jersey or Amsterdam. There are people who enjoy flying around for the hell of it, and if they happen to save a few quid then even better!

      I suspect the lack of a fantastic airport lounge at any of these places will be more off-putting than anything else!

  7. To get this lower APD, i take it you would need to book the flybe and the connection flight in one transaction on avios or do you need to phone the call centre?

  8. Another great post Rob, I’m coming back round to avios! Some snags though. Dundee which would have been awsome is not loaded in BA. Inverness is loaded but does not seem to be offering me availability to HKG or BKK via London although it does for HKG via MAN. Presumably because initial flight isn’t BA the stopover option facilitating three sector itineraries is also not available. Do you think these difficulties could be overcome by going via call centre. Tip for those using Inverness.
    : Travelodge and HIE at retail park are only 5 minutes drive from airport and there is also a frequent bus service (10 and 11) direct to/from airport that also links rail and bus stations. These buses also stop outside Thistle Inverness which is nicer hotel only a few minutes further away. Inverness is a fantastic place for short break so makes the effort for savings more worthwhile. Even for those not taking a car you can have day trip around Sky by coach or a day skiing in Aviemoreis only 40 minutes away.

  9. jack the hobo says:

    chad is more expensive for short haul, but not long haul!
    the UK (and heathrow particularly) has the highest passenger taxes in the world!

  10. Jordan D says:

    Just a ruddy shame that Flybe are suspending their LCY-INV service.

    Doubly so, as I actually needed to get to Inverness for a wedding in September …

  11. A minor point, but does anyone know *why* the Newquay-Gatwick route is exempt? I can’t find anything by Googling. Some specific tax break given to keep that route alive, perhaps?

    I really dislike Newquay – it’s a rubbish airport, and it pioneered the last-minute surprise £5 fee you have to pay to pass through security. At a time when airlines were being made to display all-inclusive prices, I was disappointed they were allowed to get away with that.

  12. jack the hobo says:

    this concept anyways is pretty old, you could have always started in dublin or take the eurostar to BRU ot PAR. the real question is, is there anyway to combine the APD savings, AND ALSO not pay BA YQ? like is there anyway to book these on AA’s website? or does air Berlin fly from any of these airports? or do any star alliance members fly from there, allowing you to book a flight from the UK with no YQ, or APD?

    • This difference here is that a decent % of readers actually live within striking distance of Newquay or Inverness without having to get on a plane!

      • Potentially that is me so i am very interested in this option. Do you book all legs of yor journey online via avios or do you have to call up?

        • If it needs more than two flights then you’d need to call BA to book after first checking availability leg by leg online. Anything which is just Flybe and 1 onward flight should be possible online if you can persuade to spit it out.

        • Yes, it would be flybe newquay to gatwick, ba gatwick to barbados. I take it this route can be fully booked online via avios?

        • Yes, if availability is there

  13. Peter Taysum says:

    Interesting to note Flying Blue emailed me to say they don’t charge for connecting flights to their hubs in Paris and Amsterdam…

  14. I assume we ‘re only talking where stopovers are less than 24 hrs?

  15. Does the zero APD on these routes only apply to BA booked flights? IE. Would it be possible to book Newquay to Gatwick and then use Virgin to get to LA?

    I currently live in Cornwall so this is promising for me.

    I have however just checked cash prices to LA from NQY with the cheapest price coming up on BA as around £700 for Economy. However on third party websites i can get Dublin to LA return for under £400 and that’s on BA metal.

    Is this strange? I’m never really sure if I’m doing the booking correctly..