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South African Airline Tax Shocks Travellers

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

04 October 2001


South African travellers and travel agents were shocked to learn that the country's national airline has imposed a $5 (approx R45) tax on all flights in order to cover increased insurance costs in the wake of the hijackings in America.

The levy, which began with immediate effect from September 29th, is expected to bring South African Airways approximately R2 billion in additional revenue, and replaces the recently introduced 'Q' surcharge. According to SAA, the charge will be levied on each leg of the journey, meaning that outbound and return flights are taxable separately, and infants travelling on all flights will also be eligible to pay.

In a no-nonsense memo issued to travel agents last week, the airline stressed that the new tax would not be subject to discounts, would apply to all classes and fares, and should be collected in addition to other charges and taxes such as airport tax. The memo also warned that in the event of non-collection of the new tax, the money would be deducted from the bank account of the travel agent.

However, as a result of the haste with which the measure was implemented, the SAA tax will have to be collected manually for the time being, as the system has not yet been programmed electronically.

Their time will come.


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