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Bits: Air Passenger Duty budget increase, Qatar loosens insurance rules, new Emirates livery

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News in brief:

APD will increase again in 2024, but not by much

On 1st April 2023, Air Passenger Duty (APD) will rise for all passengers on flights departing a UK airport.

This is an increase announced by Rishi Sunak, back when he was chancellor in October 2021, and includes the new rate of reduced APD for domestic flights and an additional band for ultra-longhaul flights:

Air Passenger Duty 2023-2024Cheapest cabinOther cabins
Band A (0 – 2,000 miles)£13£26
Band B (2,001 – 5,500 miles)£87£191
Band C (5,501+ miles)£91£200

APD will continue to rise. On Wednesday’s budget, Jeremy Hunt announced that APD would increase again on the 1st April 2024:

APD rates will increase in line with RPI for 2024-25 rounded to the nearest pound, meaning that short haul international rates remain frozen, benefiting more than 70% of passengers. Following a 50% cut in APD for domestic flights in 2023-24, the rate for domestic flights will increase by 50p to £7. The long haul and ultra-long haul economy rates will increase by £1.

The good news for short haul flights is that APD will remain fixed at £13 for the 10th year in a row.

Air Passenger Duty 2024-2025Cheapest cabinOther cabins
Band A (0 – 2,000 miles)£13£26
Band B (2,001 – 5,500 miles)£88£194
Band C (5,501+ miles)£92£202

Despite claiming this is an inflationary increase, in reality it is much less given how it is being rounded down. The long haul economy rate is increasing by just 1.15% whilst ultra-longhaul grows by 1.10% – far below inflation.

Increases in premium cabins are similarly small, with an uplift of just 1% on premium ultra-longhaul flights.

Qatar loosens insurance rules

Qatar relaxes its insurance requirements for entry

Back in February, Qatar tweaked its entry rules to require all travellers to hold compulsory insurance from a Doha-based insurance company. You can read Rob’s initial article on the change here.

It has now softened its stance a little:

In addition to the visitors’ health insurance policies issued by insurance companies registered with the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), visitors’ health insurance policies issued by MOPH approved international insuranc​e companies​ are also accepted.

In a truly helpful fashion, Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health does not confirm which international insurance companies are on its approved list. Neither does the FAQ on its website, which despite having a section on the subject simply reiterates that such a list exists, without providing a link to it. Let me know if you are able to find one.

Nonetheless, there are a couple of requirements that all international insurers need to comply with:

  • coverage must include Qatar
  • the policy must be valid for the duration of stay
  • the policy must cover emergency healthcare with a minimum limit of QAR 150,000 (c. £35,000) with no excess
  • the policy must cover Covid-19 with a limit of QAR 50,000 (c. £12,000)
  • physical printed proof of coverage must be presented on demand

Clearly, Qatar isn’t trying to make it easy to purchase non-Qatari insurance and for an easy life you may want to double up and buy one of the Qatar-approved policies anyway – the cost is 50 Riyals (£11). You can read the official page here.

New Emirates airline livery

Emirates unveils a new livery

We don’t normal focus on aircraft liveries, but when one of the major global carriers makes a change it is worth flagging.

Emirates has just announced a ‘refresh’ of its livery, the first since 1999 and only the third ever.

To quote:

In this latest design, the UAE flag on the Emirates tailfin is much more dynamic and flowing with a 3D effect artwork, and the wingtips have been painted red with the Emirates logo in Arabic calligraphy “popping” out in reverse white. Passengers onboard with a window view will see the UAE flag colours painted on the wingtips facing the fuselage.

The signature gold “Emirates” lettering across the main body in English and Arabic is also bolder, and 32.5% larger. On the aircraft belly, Emirates has retained its iconic red branding which it introduced in 2005.  The website URL “” has been dropped from the design.

24 aircraft will be repainted with the new livery by the end of 2023, and all new deliveries – starting with the new A350 fleet coming from August 2024 – will be delivered with it.

Comments (40)

  • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

    “The Government has not published the April 2024 rates for premium cabin flights.”

    Yes it has and I posted then in Thursdays chat.

    And they are listed in a HM Tresury Document – apprix 2/3 through

  • BJ says:

    The story about APD is not so much the increases but the continuing stupidity of it. The only reason they get away with them is due to pressure on passengers time or passenger ignorance. While in the past I always favoured getting from A to B in the least time with a decent schedule, I now increasingly feel like I’d rather spend around £200 on a cheap flight and hopefully half decent hotel to some European city that often offer more competitive fares, anyway and enjoy up to two days before my journey proper begins. With budget fares and budget hotels around for about £50 each there is even a case for doing this with an economy flight provided these are also more competitive exEurope than exUK although I have never checjed if they are.

    • Vit says:

      @BJ yes now that we are in and out of Oslo often we start planning some bkk trip exOslo already. And with work i could tag along the hotel stay and ferry-flight for additional saving too. QR do have some great business class deals for early next year. I think we will look at it more seriously now that we have used up our 241 vouchers by summer next year.

      • BJ says:

        On another blog recently I saw OSL-BKK-AMS in Qatar J for about £1300 I think, and with generous rules too. Liked the look of it as I can picture Loganair to Bergen, train to Oslo and an overnight in Ansrerdam being really worthwhile icing on the cake.

        • Vit says:

          You can also take Norwegian Shuttle for like £50 one-way or less if you book well in advanced from EDI. That’s what I normally do as SAS has been really on and off with their flight schedule during winter to the Scottish capital. Or yes you can just take Loganair from ABZ to OSL as well.

          • BJ says:

            Thanks, isn’t Norwegian a MAX? I would like to go to Begen as I’ve never been and thanks to Rhys’s review I now know there is a Bonvoy option.

          • Vit says:

            Haha I knew that word will pop up! No it is a -800. Been around much longer since late 90s early 2000s. It is part of the B737 Next Gen.

        • Paul says:

          These deals are few and far between so snap them up when available. My wife is being sent to overseas shortly for work her company have paid near £4500 for her return flight which is inflexible.
          I have decided to join her and paid £2100 ex BUD. We did suggest to her firm that she could do this too and we’d make a weekend of it before and after at our expense. They said no! The stupidity of bean counters never ceases to amaze me

          • Alex Sm says:

            It’s always easier to part with someone else’s money

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Not really stupidity. It’s usually for insurance and operational reasons. It mind sound nice for you to “save” them some money but they might be getting a rebate on the £4,500 at year end and also it’s to stop others taking unnecessary business trips to then start holidays etc

            You should check your own insurance policies in regards to flights without protected connections not leaving from your origin country etc

    • RussellH says:

      Surely you are not suggesting that aviation should not be taxed at all?

      While we still wait for international agreement on ending the tax break to help a new and innovative type of transport get off the ground (pun intended) so that VAT can be levied on airline tickets, APD makes perfect sense.

      • BJ says:

        What I would like them to do is scrap the third runway at LHR, allow a second runway at LGW, scrap APD at all airports except LHR and LGW hike APD at LHR and LGW to compensate for losses elsewhere, not allow any airline to hold more than 25% of slots at any airport. By doing so they could allow regional airports to flourish and increase competition resulting in both greater choice and lower fares.

  • AS says:

    The rules have also changed on who requires local insurance, it is now only required for those staying OVER 30 DAYS:

    Not that this is entirely clear on the page where you click through to a Qatari company from whom you can buy insurance.

    • AS says:

      I flew into Doha earlier in the week and insurance wasn’t mentioned at any point. I was assuming my AMEX plat insurance would be ok in light of the changes in this article, but whether it is or not, I still know not as I was never asked about insurance.

    • YC says:

      So no insurance required at all for stays <30days?

      • Rob says:

        What is weird is that, whilst the site above says 30 days, you do not see this message if you go via the Ministry of Public Health website route.

  • Scallder says:

    Looks like TPG UK is being closed down! Clearly could never compete with HFP 🙂 Just had the below:

    Hello friends!

    Changes are afoot at The Points Guy UK.

    We are in the process of making our global channels a more cohesive home. We are still committed to bringing you the very best in travel, aviation, points and miles, deals and more, including content from our UK team that you have come to know and love.

    We will be changing the frequency of our newsletters and you will see us publishing new content from the UK and Europe on For the time being, our giant catalogue of tens of thousands of articles will remain at [XXX] for your enjoyment!

    • sayling says:

      Never really understood the hype… often riddled with inaccuracies, their posts were often very self centred and a bit “look at me”

      • Rob says:

        There never was any hype 🙂

        I have seen multi-million dollar figures quoted for the accumulated losses over 5 years. The only surprise is that it lasted this long given that the parent company is ruthless about cutting off dead wood (see recent CNET firings etc).

      • lumma says:

        The cringey selfies on the YouTube thumbnails were enough for me to avoid them

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Originally it was a little interesting but as others say increasing inaccurate and cringey

  • Paul says:

    So in other words the Qatari stealth arrival tax has failed and is quietly withdrawn.

    I flew to AUH two weeks ago on QR ex CPH. Great flights and the Al Safwa lounge again stunning. Not so stunning was the state of my luggage on arrival.

    AUH staff refused three times to issue a PIR thus beginning a very frustrating experience trying to deal with this. It took days to be accepted and despite providing receipts and all required documentation, they offered half the value and so began the email haggle. When I rejected this they ignored me and now I am home have passed it to LHR to resolve. Customer care are fast to reply but utterly useless. Indeed they make BA look professional!

    So, the blogs are right. QR are fine only when it all goes well.

    • babyg says:

      Flew through last weekend – found the Al Safwa poor, other than the dessert better offers with a the AM North lounge. No idea what is going on with QR F&B at the moment but its very hit and miss.

      And yes QR in the sky=great.. QR on the ground=useless

  • vlcnc says:

    From a design perspective (as a designer) this is a backward step from Emirates. The general trend for sometime has been towards flat graphics which looks a lot neater and is easier to replicate and make everything uniform. I think this looks messy – Emirates had a timeless livery, no reason to mess with it.

    • Rob says:

      The ‘flat’ trend may be over. If you use fashion as an example, Saint Laurent, Burberry and Berluti were the ones who moved to ‘flat’. We did the same with our redesign in 2020. Burberry has just dropped ‘flat’ from SS23 and is now back to swirly fonts. Saint Laurent is also bringing back, at least on clothing if not as the brand image, the Y S L overlaid image that the perfumes never got rid of.

      ‘Flat’ does makes sense though in the online age. It’s why, for eg, the BBC moved to square rather than sloping letter blocks, because it displays better online.

      • vlcnc says:

        Flat is definitely not over – it’s not about whether a font is swirly or not, you can have flat logo and it be ornate (Emirates font has never been modernist for example). It’s also not whether you overlay flat elements over a photograph, that is entirely possible with a flat branding scheme. It’s the gradients and digital textures that are out of fashion as a trend which is what Emirates has done here with the tail. Also flat graphics aren’t just a trend, they’re also generally timeless way of doing things and why some companies don’t need to change their core branding (not ancillary elements which constantly evolve) for decades without it looking dated.

  • Swifty says:

    email rec’d about 10% off iberia gift cards, can that be used on rewards flight fees?

  • Michael C says:

    I think many people will be feeling a bit livery by the end of St Patrick’s Day…

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