Airport Tax Changes 1 January

HAPPY NEW YEAR

[Key words – travel – tax – passengers – international travel – airport]

On 1 January 2022, three major changes will come into effect for passengers departing Velana International Airport: firstly, the Airport Service Charge will be discontinued; secondly, the rate for Airport Development Fee will be increased; and thirdly, a Departure Tax will be introduced.

Airport Service Charge is Cancelled

Airport Service Charge (ASC) was a tax levied on any passenger leaving the Maldives from an airport in the country. The ASC regime used to collect USD 12 from Maldivians and USD 25 from foreign nationals. This will now be discontinued from 1 January.

Departure Tax is introduced

A new tax by the name of Departure Tax (DPT) will be levied from 1 January 2022 onwards from every passenger leaving the Maldives from an airport in the country. Persons with diplomatic immunity, transit passengers, and children below the age of 2 years are exempt from the levy.

The tax rate for DPT is different for Maldivians and foreign nationals. It is also differently levied based on travel class of the passenger.

DPT rates are as follows:

  • Economy Class – USD 12 from Maldivians and USD 30 from foreign nationals;
  • Business Class – USD 60 from Maldivians and USD 60 from foreign nationals;
  • First Class – USD 90 from Maldivians and USD 90 from foreign nationals; and
  • Private Jets – USD 120 from Maldivians and USD 120 from foreign nationals.

Airport Development Fee is increased

The Airport Development Fee (ADF) was introduced on 1 May 2017. The collection of the fee was specific to passengers departing from Velana International Airport – the main international airport of the country.

Here too, passengers with diplomatic immunity and transit passengers on “direct transit” flights were exempt from the levy of ADF. Transit passengers (other than those on direct transit flights) and children below the age of 2 years would still be subject to payment of ADF.

Direct transit flights are defined as those that transit at an airport in the Maldives and depart with the same flight number.

The following is the new rate schedule for ADF with effect from 1 January 2022:

  • Economy Class – USD 12 from Maldivians and USD 30 from foreign nationals;
  • Business Class – USD 60 from Maldivians and USD 60 from foreign nationals;
  • First Class – USD 90 from Maldivians and USD 90 from foreign nationals; and
  • Private Jets – USD 120 from Maldivians and USD 120 from foreign nationals.

Who is exempt from ADF?

Diplomats

There are two categories of passengers considered to have diplomatic immunity:

  1. Foreign nationals belonging to a foreign diplomatic mission and resident in the Maldives with privileges and immunities under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961).
  2. Passengers on flights granted “diplomatic clearance” by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is normally done for flights carrying heads of state/government or high-ranking government officials of other countries.

Transit passengers

Transit passengers are defined as those who stay in the Maldives for less than 24 hours to change flights while traveling from one country to another. Passengers often referred to as “transfer passengers” in the industry are also covered within this definition.

Children

Whether or not DPT is collected from a child below 2 years depends on whether or not the child reached their second birthday on date of initiating travel.

DPT is collected from only if the child has reached 2 years of age on date of departure from the Maldives.

DPT is also collected from a child whose travel originated from a point outside the Maldives if the child had reached 2 years on date of departure from the point of travel.

By SA

Photo: Courtesy Mihaaru