The UK Government has made changes to air passenger duty (APD), which will halve the tax paid on domestic flights while making long haul flights more expensive.

The changes, due to become effective on April 2023, will cut down domestic APD from £13 to £6.50.

For ultra-long-haul flights flying more than 5,500 miles, economy rates will be $125 (£91).

The announcement was made by Chancellor Rishi Sunak while presenting the Autumn Budget 2021 in the House of Commons.

Sunak said: “Right now, people pay more for return flights within and between the four nations of the United Kingdom than they do when flying home from abroad.

“We used to have a return-leg exemption for domestic flights but were required to remove it in 2001. But today I can announce that flights between airports in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will from April 2023 be subject to a new lower rate of Air Passenger Duty.”

For long-haul flights, the APD rate will increase from $112 (£82) on economy flights to $115 (£84) from next April while the premium rate will rise by $6.8 (£5) to $254 (£185).

Chancellor Sunak presented the changes as some form of carbon emissions tax.

He said the majority of the emissions come from international flights than domestic aviation.

In response to the new APD, Manchester Airports Group (MAG) CEO Charlie Cornish said: “Anything that reduces the cost of flying for consumers, at the same time as improving regional connectivity and supporting the Government’s levelling-up ambitions is positive news, and so a 50% cut on domestic routes should be welcomed.

“However, it is important to note that the UK has for some time had some of the highest rates of aviation tax in the world, and in the aftermath of these reforms, those travelling on short-haul flights will still pay at least £13 and those on long haul flights will still have to pay at least £84.”