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You don’t need to be a of 9 or 10 make the savings you have highlighted. I have just saved £14000 for 4 to Asia this summer by begining in Milan and not London yet I am on the same flights ex LHR. APD is not the driving force for this, it is the fares and if the fares were the same here as in Milan then the addition of APD would not be make the trek to Milan worth my while. There are also cheaper places to depart from in Europe and again nothing to do with APD simply lower airfares.
As for the issue of high net worth visitors dropping thousands in VAT and other taxes…… of course they do and that is why the are queuing up at the VAT desks in T5 T3 and elswhere getting it all back!!!. Having a near worthless currency and a VAT regime that allows refunds in this way simply means the Gucci bag and Prada shoes are cheaper here than somewhere else. Having APD of £150 or even £300 on a F or J ticket is not going to stop or even affect these individuals as the VAT reclaims are often many times this amount. The USA has been imposing taxes and charges for years and no one complains, so again we need to put APD in perspective.