Whenever stats are quoted for airports, a return trip is always measured twice, the assumption being that outbound passengers have got to come back somehow.
How many cases are there where people are actually flying back from different airports, and could this be a potential problem for UK airports? Consider:
* A typical long haul passenger may now be asked to pay £82+ in APD to leave blighty. Simple way to avoid this - get an open jaw routing with outbound to UK - over-burdening our border staff who don't seem to be able to cope. Surface (+ tunnel) or low cost it to the continent and return from CDG, AMS etc, paying PSC and local taxes, both considerably less than LHR there.
*Pilgrim routes such as to Santiago De Compoestella must place an extra loading on outbounds.
* Migration routes.
Guessing: If some pax leave a particular field and do not return to it, making an imbalance, then other pax will do the same arriving at the field on a single and perhaps travelling on by surface. I think it likely that the overall balance will be maintained.
As to folks creating a dog-leg journey to save (?£25/50/75?) I guess that the govt has reckoned that folks will predominantly pay, some will not go and some will divert as you describe. But the majority are expected to travel and those that divert will still be paying something to HMG.
I suspect that folks would rather not go - than to make the diversion. Particularly if you are travelling as a family, or couple. The extra hassle, time and tiredness of changing flight or mode? I would not do it. Some will and good luck to them.
Travel via the continent on an overpriced open-jaw ticket, with the inconvenience of flying indirect just to save £80 quid...? I just don't see why anyone would or could be asked with that.
Not everyone can fly directly anyway. If you live outside of the London area, chances are you have to fly to LHR or LGW to connect with your long haul flight. Fly from the regions via CDG or AMS and save the tax. The tax system must be hurting British carriers.
Ballsout - APD works on the basis of final destination of the ticket (unless there's a 24h layover), not on where your flight from the UK lands first. Thus, a Manchester-Paris-Johannesburg trip costs the same as Manchester-Heathrow-Johannesburg. One can of course buy a Manchester-Paris flight and a separate Paris-Johannesburg flight, but airline pricing usually has much higher prices for direct flights, and much reduced prices for itineraries involving a change.
Air France know that plenty of other airlines also offer 1-stop flights from Manchester to Johannesburg, but that only they and SAA fly Paris-Jo'burg direct so they can charge a premium for the non-stop flight. In the bizarre world of airline pricing, you may even find that a non-stop Paris-Jo'burg return costs more than a 1-stop Manchester-Paris-Jo'burg return.
Thus, unless you accept a 24h layover, a Manchester-Paris + Paris-Johannesburg is unlikely to save anywhere near the full value of the APD in the overall cost of the trip. In particular, the hassle of having to possibly collect one's bags at an intermediary airport before checking in again has a monetary value.
Yes, there are a few special cases where APD can be saved or a 24h layover might be desirable (e.g. American tourists who want to visit both the UK and France), but consumers generally will just put up with APD and the tax gets paid.
Last edited by davidjohnson6; 12th Apr 2012 at 12:36.
Reason: Emphasise PAR-JNB would be non-stop
As we live equidistant from MAN and LPL we regularly take short breaks in Europe outbound from either MAN or LPL and return to the other depending on the flight pricing. Seems that outbound tends to be cheaper from LPL and inbound cheaper to MAN.
The best example I can give you of the in / out situation was a Singaporean I met in Paris. He flew out to LHR, back from CDG. I can only assume the price of his ticket was much less than a simple return to/ from either LHR or CDG.
The assumption made for not fare splitting is that the airlines will price gouge for providing a direct service. This is often, but by no means always the case.
In my personal experience, fare splitting just to save money is probably a false economy - but if you actually want to stop at the transfer points nd can take advantage of doing so, then you can extract a great deal more value from your trip. Drag partner and two screaming kids in tow and you can forget it!
Open jaw tickets are very common and I've used them a lot. One might expert everything to balance out as it were.
The interesting thing will be when a lot of long haul pax realise that you have to travel into the UK and out from Europe to minimise APD (a significant saving for APD). Of course you still have to get from the UK to the continent and Eurostar helpful don't to do cheap one way ticketing, but there are other options (coaches, Harwich ferry, etc).
This gives rise to interesting issues. Would an airline like Cathay stop an outbound flight from the UK at an airport such as CDG or AMS. (I understand that the CDG - AMS legs on CX 270/1 have quite low load factors). Would they have traffic rights for stopover traffic? What would the effect be on the load factor or surface operators?
At one time I had access to traffic figures, and in respect of open jaw journeys they more or less balance out. For example, we used to get a lot of groups flying into JNB, doing a safari, and heading for CPT which was their point of exit. This was pretty much balanced by groups that did the trip in the opposite direction, flew into CPT and out of JNB. There were significant differences within certain seasons but over the year it quite balanced.
I found fares, regardless of the tax, to be cheaper from UK than from the close continent.
Just as an example I would often fly with Austrian to/from Ukraine, just check out their 'red ticket' fares from/to LHR (via VIE) then check out their fares as if one starts and ends one's journey in VIE ... or AMS, PAR etc.
Not actually paying the APD seperately I'd suggest the 'full fare' airlines are absorbing the APD, they're not making so much profit on fares from UK because they'd expect us to start looking at fares from the close continent were UK fares to become too expensive.