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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)

  • ADS says:

    “the policy must cover emergency healthcare with a minimum limit of QAR 150,000 (c. £35,000) with no excess”

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a travel insurance policy with ZERO excess

    • Jonathan says:

      Not exactly hard to find…

      • ADS says:

        indeed. but the point is that most of our existing annual policies would not meet QR requirements. even if QR loosen the rules about it being a Middle East insurance company.

  • Ian says:

    Someone drew to my attention yesterday the new taxes for passengers who have a journey originating in Pakistan. Air passenger duty to Europe is PKR 150,000 or about GBP 437. The most interesting is that it is only charged for customers in business and first.
    The government of Pakistan appears to be doing the UK Govt a big favour here: we are not the biggest fee charger any longer!

  • Scallder says:

    It seems Creation have seen some light – just got this in relation to my wife’s FOS complaint from holding the IHG premium card:

    Thank you for your patience while we’ve been progressing your complaint. As you’re aware we’ve been having regular discussions with Creation Financial Services Limited (Creation) to ensure an outcome that is fair and reasonable in the circumstances.

    Throughout these conversations, Creation have provided additional information and it’s been important to take this into account for the individual circumstances of each case. As a result of our conversations with Creation, we’re pleased to let you know that Creation have made an offer to resolve your complaint.

    The offer Creation have made will depend on the type of account you held with them. I’ve explained more details below.


    The closure of credit card accounts with Creation affected two of their credit card products which provided associated benefits.

    IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card – customers were able to earn IHG Rewards Club points, and Anniversary Night Vouchers for an annual account fee
    IHG Rewards Club Credit Card – customers were able to earn IHG Rewards Club points

    Offer from Creation

    For any customers who held an IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card, Creation have offered to refund the unused proportion of the account fee on a pro-rata basis,
    transfer the outstanding IHG Rewards Club points to their IHG account, and
    grant Anniversary Night Vouchers for eligible customers.

    For any customer who held an IHG Rewards Club Credit Card, Creation have offered to transfer the outstanding IHG Rewards Club points to their IHG account.

    I would be grateful if you could let us know whether you accept the offer from Creation in full and final settlement of your complaint by 31 March 2023.

    If we don’t hear from you by then, we will assume your acceptance of this offer, ask Creation to action the settlement and close your complaint.

    My own complaint is still outstanding with FOS, however I am now expecting the same too. Wonder whether they’ve realised it’s cheaper to settle than run the risk of claims going further…

    • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

      You really should have posted this in one of the Creation threads as more people are likely to see it there than buried in an article about APD.

  • C says:

    Would AMEX platinum insurance meet Qatar’s insurance requirement?

    • Rob says:

      no. We now have the list of insurers and they are all Middle East groups.

      • AS says:

        Maybe not, but in the absence of a list I could find before I flew here earlier in the week I assumed it would be ok. In the event at no point did the issue of insurance come up once at any point in my journey. YMMV, so buyer (or not buyer!) beware!

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