It is said that there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. But just what exactly are you being taxed for when you fly and why can you only pay certain taxes on departure (and not through your travel agent)? Flight Centre takes a look at the various taxes charged by airlines and airports. Airport taxes come in various shapes and sizes. There are taxes for passenger safety, airport facilities, the fuel surcharge (in the US dollar equivalent) and departure taxes amongst others. These taxes are levied by the airport and airline to cover some of their running costs. What affects these taxes?
If the oil price surges you are likely to face an increase on the fuel surcharge portion of your airfare, and weâ??ve experienced quite a few of these fuel surcharges lately. Airlines donâ??t have any control over the price of oil and this charge is quoted in US dollars, and passed on to the traveller. Due to the Rand/Dollar exchange and recent oil price surge, the cost of flying has nearly doubled.

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Departure taxes Certain airports charge a separate departure tax, which is only payable at the specific airport and cannot be collected in advance on your behalf. There are known as non-ticketable taxes. For example in Thailand and Vietnam a departure tax is payable directly at the airport before you leave. While most fees and taxes are payable on settlement of your air ticket, there are exceptions which a competent travel consultant should point out to you. The rule of thumb in this regard is whether the airport is privately or state-owned.
Auckland International Airport is a good example as it is a privately owned and operated airport. Passengers must pay their taxes at the airport, as they are not included on the ticket. Many African airports function in this manner, including those in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique.â? In-transit taxes Whether you are charged a transit or departure tax depends on the length of stay in-transit and the rules governing that particular airport. Passengers in transit who do not disembark from the plane and children under the age of two are usually not charged this passenger service charge. These taxes vary from airport to airport and usually are levied to cover the costs of running the airport. Salaries for ground staff, baggage handling, on-site facilities (toilets, parking etc.) are factored in. For example, if you are in transit via Sao Paulo and you leave the terminal â?? even to have a cigarette outsideâ?? you need to pay a departure tax on re-entering the terminal to continue with your travels. Currently this tax is US$36 per person. However, if you are travelling to the US via the UK and leave the terminal (even if your connecting flight departs 12 hours later) you are not likely to be charged a departure tax. Below please find a selection of the most common airports that charge non-ticketable departure taxes: Argentina , Bahamas, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Laos, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mozambique, Nepal, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka,  Swaziland, Thailand, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe For more information about travel or to book contact Flight Centre on 0860 400 747 or visit www.flightcentre.co.za