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APD on children’s economy flights to be scrapped

3rd December, 2014


The chancellor today announced that Air Passenger Duty on children’s flights is to be scrapped for all economy class tickets. From May 2015, APD for children under 12 will be abolished and in the following year, APD for all children under 16 is to go.

The air travel industry had called for the change on the basis that it would make an annual holiday more affordable for hard pressed families. But in fact it is most likely to benefit airlines, and those on higher incomes taking several flights a year.

David Cameron was recently reported as telling a meeting of Conservative MPs: “I really like this one. I have three children under 10 myself. [1]”

AEF Deputy Director Cait Hewitt said: “This change might help boost airlines’ profits, but as most flights are taken by people on higher incomes who make several foreign trips a year, it will do very little for hard pressed families. If airlines, airports and tour operators really wanted to help make an annual visit abroad affordable for more families, they could stop hiking their prices during the school holidays or invest in cheaper public transport to airports.”

The majority of people flying pay the lowest rate of air passenger duty, currently set at £13. There is no evidence that people are deterred from taking an annual holiday because of the cost of APD.

Aviation already gets away with significant tax exemptions. Travelling by air is comparable to driving in terms of CO2 emissions per mile, but aviation pays neither VAT nor fuel duty – a significant effective subsidy. Imposing these taxes at the same rate as for motorists would generate £10 billion for the Treasury in contrast to the £3 billion raised annually from APD. [2]



  2.    See our recent blog on APD for more information