Industry lobby “A Fair Tax on Flying” new campaign to try to get APD reduced for children

Another year; another Autumn Statement by the Chancellor. This year’s will be on 3rd December. And so another push by the industry lobby “A Fair Tax on Flying” to try to get the rate of tax on air travel cut.  In the UK, as in most countries across the world, air travel is under-taxed. For historical reason, air travel pays no tax on jet fuel. In  Europe, air travel is  zero-rated for VAT.  APD is the only tax paid on UK air travel, and that is at the rate of just £13 per return flight per person, for any destination under 2,000 miles from Britain. APD nowhere makes up the deficit of tax lost. The net loss to the Treasury annually may be about £9 billion.  The “A Fair Tax on Flying” lobby, whose members are entirely from the aviation and travel industries, now is having a go at getting the Chancellor to cut APD for any child under 12 years old. They claim this is an unfair tax on children, and on what they try to make out is  the virtual necessity of foreign holidays by air for everyone. This is a self serving campaign by the lobby, to boost its trade. They gloss over the inconvenient fact that they will raise the price of air travel during school holidays and half terms etc, and charge far, far more per passenger than merely the £13 for a European trip.

Campaign to scrap tax on children’s flights backed by Manchester Airport

Nov 24, 2014  (Manchester Evening News)

By Adam Jupp

Currently, children pay the same level of Air Passenger Duty on their tickets as adults, despite youngsters being exempt from tax in other areas, like VAT on food and clothing

A bid to scrap the tax on children’s flights was today launched.

The campaign – led by pressure group A Fair Tax on Flying – has been backed by MPs and Manchester Airport.

Currently, children pay the same level of Air Passenger Duty on their tickets as adults, despite youngsters being exempt from tax in other areas, like VAT on food and clothing.

Campaign leaders say 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 like America.

Air Passenger Duty on economy tickets (until April 2015, when bands B, C and D are amalgamated, to pay only £71 APD)
Band A (0-2,000 miles)

Band B (2,001-4,000 miles)

Band C (4,001-6,000 miles)

Band D (more than 6,000 miles)


Only four other European countries levy a similar tax, and UK passengers pay the most, and more than double the nearest (Germany).

In this year’s Budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced the removal of bands C and D of APD, coming into effect from 1st April 2015. It means that from 2015, the highest APD band levied will be band B

A spokesman for the campaign, called Scrap the Tax on Family Flights, is asking the public to get on board by using an online calculator to find out how much extra their holiday costs because of APD.

The calculator can send a postcard to Chancellor George Osborne.

Around 30 MPs have signed a House of Commons Early Day Motion calling for the levy to be abolished.

A spokesperson for the campaign 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.”

Campaigners say APD has gone up significantly in recent years and Manchester Airport has previously argues airlines have decided to set up routes from regional hubs, instead of here, to avoid the levy.

APD on economy tickets in the highest band – flights travelling more than 6,000 miles – has nearly doubled in the past five years. The levy is passed on to passengers through ticket prices and is calculated based on the distance between London and the capital city of the country the traveller is flying to.

MP for Altrincham and Sale West Graham Brady 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.”

Andrew Cowan, chief operating officer of Manchester Airports Group, said: “We strongly agree with the campaign from ‘A Fair Tax On Flying’ and believe it is incredibly unfair for children to be taxed in the same way as adults.

“Furthermore, MAG continues to campaign for overall reductions in Air Passenger Duty, which will help make non-London airports more attractive to long haul carriers and therefore would stimulate traffic out of congested airports in the capital.

“I believe that this would be a real and achievable short term solution to the south east air capacity debate currently taking place.”



Industry lobby, not grassroots campaign.  ie. Astroturfing

The Scrap the Tax on Family Flights campaign is not, as it might appear, a grass-roots campaign. It is a somewhat self-serving initiative by the grouping, “A Fair Tax on Flying”, which is an industry lobby. Its aim is to make air travel even cheaper -and even less taxed – than it is already. Its members are entirely from the aviation and travel industries.

A Fair Tax on Flying says of itself:

About Us

A Fair Tax on Flying campaign consists of some of the UK’s leading travel organisations including airlines, airports, trade associations and destinations. We came together because we believe that APD is having a damaging impact on the UK and we believe that there is a compelling case for the Government to take urgent action in the interests of businesses, travellers and the wider British economy.

Fair Tax on Flying campaign members:
ABTA, American Airlines, ANTOR, AOA, BALPA, BAR-UK, BATA, Bristol Airport, British Airways, ETOA, Gatwick, GTMC, Heathrow, MAG, Newcastle Airport, PATA (UK), Peel Airports, Royal Brunei, Sabre Travel Network, SPAA, Tourism Alliance, TUI, UK Inbound, Unite, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Visit USA.


Their Scrap the Tax on Family Flights campaign pages are at




By contrast, some holiday prices, in term time and in holiday time:

Holiday costs: term-time versus school holidays

Guardian. February 2014

The prices given are not a comprehensive account of the average prices offered by each company, but a snapshot of a variety of typical family holidays*.

Tour operator
Summer term time (week of 12-19 July)
Summer school holiday (week of 26 July-2 August)
Price increase
Center ParcsFour nights at Woburn Forest Bedfordshire, lodge accommodation£759£1,14951%
Mark WarnerSan Luciano Beach Resort, Corsica, including flights and half board£4,652£5,65221%
ThomsonAtlantica Aegean Blue resort, Rhodes, all-inclusive£3,333£4,18125%
HavenPerrans Sands, Cornwall, standard caravan accommodation£492.25£907.8384%
Club MedNapitia resort, Italy, including hotel and flights£3,706£4,0429%
James VillasVilla das Palmeiras, Algarve, including flights and self-catering accommodation£2,760£3,48826%
Natural RetreatsTrewhiddle, Cornwall, in two bedroom self-catering cottage£983£1,26028%
Butlin’sFour nights at Bognor Regis resort, hotel accommodation£480£95699%
Disneyland ParisFour nights at Disneyland Hotel, including park tickets and breakfast£3,840£4,0967%
First ChoiceBlue Lagoon Resort, Kos, all-inclusive£2,684£3,45428%
EurocampLe Capeyrou, Dordogne, safari tent accommodation£847.2£1,178.138%

* All prices are for a family of four (including two children between 5 and 15) and for seven nights unless otherwise stated  

from the Guardian



More holiday costs in term time and in the holiday period compared:

“A family of four could save almost £2,000 on the cost of their total holiday, according to figures from

Two adults and two children travelling to Malta on an all-inclusive basis, departing from London Gatwick on a seven night basis during the Easter holidays, would pay £3489.15. But travelling just a couple of weeks earlier could reduce the price to just £1,680 – a whopping £1,809.15 difference. 

In another example, the same family could save almost £1,000 on a holiday to Tunisia for seven nights on an all-inclusive basis flying from London Standard. Flying on 10 August would cost £2835.03 but the price drops to £1,879.67 – a saving of £955.36 – if the trip was booked after the end of the summer holidays.

A trip to Portugal in August would cost £2,015.59 for 2 adults and 2 children on a self-catering basis in a three star hotel from London Gatwick. But if they travelled in late September this would drop to £1,214 – a saving of £801.59.

Alex Francis, from, said: ‘Travel outside of the school holidays is often significantly cheaper with a considerable price difference for a family of four.’ “

From This Is Money

So much for saving £13 per head, or £52 for the family of 4.  Or even, at the higher band of APD after next April, 4 x 71 = £ 284 for the family of 4 travelling further afield than Europe. That pales into insignificance compared to the way holiday companies and airlines profiteer when they can, during the school holidays.   So much for the industry lobby’s crocodile tears about the “hard working family” and their essential holiday by plane.

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Air Passenger Duty on flights for children set to be axed, slashing plane tax for an average UK family in half

– Air Passenger Duty costs an average family of four £52 for a short-haul trip
– The axing on tax on flights for children would reduce that by £26
– Holiday taxes on kids flights alone to Australia and Indonesia is £194
– PM David Cameron and 33 MPs back aviation and tourism group’s proposal

Scrap The Tax On Family Flights campaign says removing the tax makes holidays more affordable for families at a minimal cost to the Government


23 November 2014

Taxes on children’s flights will be abolished, leading to major holiday savings for families, if a proposal said to be supported by David Cameron is approved.
As it stands, Air Passenger Duty adds a minimum of £52 to flights for a family of four to a destination in Europe such as Spain or Italy, with tickets for two children under the age of 12 accounting for £26 of that additional cost.

For flights to the United States and Canada, North and Western Africa, the Middle East and Russia east of the Ural ranges the ADP rises to £276, £138 for two children, while that cost stretches to £388, £194 for the kids, to places including Australia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Over 30 aviation, tourism and business groups have banded together to propose the removal of the tax to make their airports or cities more attractive to travellers with a significant proportion of MPs backing the calls.

Airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Newcastle, Bristol and Manchester airports, airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, along with workers’ union Unite and Chambers of Commerce in London and Scotland are pushing for the abolition of the tax.

The just-launched Scrap The Tax On Family Flights campaign says the tax on children’s flights is an unfair burden placed on families by the Government.

Families pay an average of £52 for a short-haul flight and £276 for a long-haul flight under current laws

Getting rid of the tax for flights for kids will ‘make an annual holiday more affordable for hardworking families, at a minimal cost to the Government’, claims the campaign.

They say the the move would cost the Treasury just 1.6 per cent of the £3billion in APD incomed predicted for next year, which equals approximately £50million.
British families pay more tax to fly away for a holiday than anywhere else in the world, and more than three times as much as German passengers and 30 times what French passengers pay.

Only four other European countries place a comparable levy to the UK while the Netherlands, Denmark and the Republic of Ireland have all removed their departure taxes.
British families pay more tax to fly away for a holiday than any other country in the world

The Scrap The Tax campaign invites families to use their online calculator to work out what they would pay for a holiday abroad, and to forward their results onto their local MP.

Mr Cameron is said to have supported the idea when it was raised by Andrew Bridgen at a Tory MPs meeting in October.
The Sunday Express quotes the Prime Minister’s response to Andrew Bridgen when the North West Leicestershire MP brought up the subject in that gathering: ‘I really like this one. I have three children under 10 myself.’

It is said 33 MPS support an early day motion to have the flight tax for children axed while the proposal has been put forward to George Osborne for consideration for use in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on December 3.