Campaign calls for the Government to scrap the tax on family flights

A campaign to scrap the tax on children’s flights launches today, as polling reveals that that the majority of the public think that it is time the Government make children under 12 exempt from Air Passenger Duty (APD)– and help support families in taking valuable holidays together. A ComRes poll commissioned by ‘A Fair Tax on Flying’ – a coalition of aviation, travel and tourism partners who are calling for children’s APD to be scrapped - found:

  • More than four in five (83%) British adults say that hard working families deserve a decent holiday next summer after a difficult few years and over three quarters (78%) say an annual family holiday should be part of every child’s life.
  • Three quarters (75%) of British adults say that it is unfair that British families pay a flight tax while families from other countries do not get charged.
  • Two thirds (65%) of British adults say that children under 12 should be exempt from Air Passenger Duty in the same way that children are exempt from other taxes.

Scrap the Tax on Family Flights has launched a call for the government to scrap Air Passenger Duty (APD) on children’s flights, giving families the break they deserve by helping to make their annual holiday more affordable – and delivering a vital saving, as many household finances continue to be stretched Currently, children pay the same tax on their tickets as adults, despite there being a well-established principle that children are exempt from taxation, for example VAT on food and clothing.

The air tax paid by families in the UK is already the highest in the world, with APD adding £52 to the cost of a family of four’s economy class flights to destinations in Europe and £276 to economy class flights to destinations such as the US. This is a significant cost on families that strive to save for their holiday each year. Only four other European countries levy a similar tax, and UK passengers pay the most, and more than double the nearest (Germany). Even families planning a ‘staycation’ can be hit by this unfair tax if they take a domestic flight. In fact, because APD is a departure tax, if they take a domestic return flight they will be taxed twice.

Scrap the Tax on Family Flights is asking the public to join the campaign by using their online calculator to find out how much extra their holiday costs because of government tax. The calculator can send a postcard to Chancellor George Osborne urging him to scrap the tax on family flights. The campaign is already gaining political support with almost 30 MPs having signed a House of Commons Early Day Motion (455) calling for the tax to be abolished on children’s tickets.

A spokesperson for the campaign to Scrap the Tax on Family Flights, said:

“The tax on children’s flights is a strain on family budgets. Given that the tax is levied at the highest rates in the world, this tax surely fails to meet the Government’s own ‘family test’. Scrapping Air Passenger Duty on children’s flights will help to make an annual holiday more affordable for hard working – and hard pressed - families, at a minimal cost to Government.

”We’re urging people to support the campaign by using the online APD calculator, and sharing how much extra they have to pay, because of this eye-wateringly high tax, with the Chancellor.”

MP for North West Leicestershire Andrew Bridgen, primary sponsor of EDM 455, said:

“It’s important that hardworking families across the UK have the opportunity to enjoy a family holiday once a year, and scrapping the tax on children’s flights is a great way for the Government to help by making a holiday more affordable.

“I am calling on the Government to scrap the tax on children’s flights and help families enjoy the well-earned break they deserve.”

MP for Altrincham and Sale West Graham Brady, Chairman of the 1922 Committee, said:

“It’s clearly unfair that British families have to pay the highest rate of Air Passenger Duty in the world, and that children are charged this tax. It’s not the children that pay for their tickets, it’s their parents or family members, so this is simply an additional strain on the family Budget.

“The Government should realise this doesn’t meet its own family test – and scrap this unnecessary tax on children’s flights as soon as possible. British families deserve a break.”

For more information please contact Danny Wilding on 020 3463 0808 or email ScrapFamilyAPD@gmail.com

ComRes interviewed 2,054 GB adults online between 14th and 16th November 2014. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.  Data tables can be found at www.comres.co.uk.

About Scrap the Tax on Family Flights

  • You can find out how much APD you can expect to pay by visiting www.apdcalculator.com
  • Scrap the Tax on Family Flights is a campaign being launched by the A Fair Tax on Flying alliance which consists of over 30 leading business organisations and travel organisations including airlines, airports, trade associations and destinations. More information about the group can be found at www.afairtaxonflying.org and www.facebook.com/afairtaxonflying
  • Follow the campaign on Twitter @ScrapFamilyAPD
  • Only four other European countries levy some form of air passenger tax.
  • Denmark, Norway, Malta and Holland have all scrapped similar taxes as the revenue raised was outweighed by the damage caused to their economies.

A Fair Tax on Flying campaign members: Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, ABTA – the Travel Association, Airport Operators Association, American Airlines, Association of National Tourist Offices and Representatives, Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, Board of Airline Representatives in the UK, British Airline Pilots’ Association, British Air Transport Association, Bristol Airport, British Airways, Business West, Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce, Caribbean Council, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, Essex Chamber of Commerce, European Tour Operators Association, Fife Chamber of Commerce, Gatwick Airport, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Guild of Travel Management Companies, Heathrow Airport, Kent Channel Chamber of Commerce, Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Manchester Airports Group, Newcastle Airport, PATA, Royal Brunei Airlines, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Alliance, TUI Travel PLC, UKinbound, Unite the Union, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Visit USA.

Air Passenger Duty – additional information

The current rates of APD, effective until 31st March 2015, are below:

Band Reduced rate Standard rate
Band A
(0-2,000 miles*)
£13 £26
Band B
(2,001-4,000 miles)
£69 £138
Band C
(4,001-6,000 miles)
£85 £170
Band D
(over 6,000 miles)
£97 £194