30 Apr

Child APD cut means families can fly for less

ABTA welcomes changes to air tax from 1 May 2015.

Families with children will fly for less from tomorrow (1 May) with the removal of the UK’s air tax, Air Passenger Duty (APD), on economy flights for children under 12.

These changes will represent a welcome saving for families flying; a family of four (with two children under 12) will save £26 on flights to Europe and £142 on flights to long haul destinations such as the USA, Thailand and Australia.

Announced in the Autumn Statement late last year, following a ‘Scrap the Tax on Family Flights’ initiative by the Fair Tax on Flying campaign that includes ABTA, the cut in APD comes into effect from 1 May. It will mean children under 12 will no longer have to pay APD on any flights taken from that date. Children under 16 will also be exempt from APD from March 2016. However children travelling in any other class than economy remain chargeable passengers and APD is due.

Most airlines and travel companies have refunded or will refund APD on flights for under 12s that were booked and paid for before the reductions were announced. Holidaymakers should contact their travel company or airline to find out more.

This cut follows changes to APD earlier in the year with the abolition of the more expensive long haul APD Bands C and D on 1 April. There are now just two bands for APD; Band A where destinations are 0-2,000 miles from London and Band B where destinations are over 2,000 miles away. Band A includes European destinations as well as Turkey, Western Russia, Morocco and Tunisia, Band B is made up of all other destinations that are further afield. These changes have simplified the APD system and made destinations such as Australia, India and Brazil more accessible to Britons.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive commented: “Families flying as part of their holidays this summer will be pleased to see a reduction in their air tax. Whilst this is undoubtedly good news for holidaymakers, British travellers still face the highest air taxes on air travel anywhere in Europe and ABTA, along with other members of the Fair Tax on Flying campaign, is as committed as ever to making the case against this damaging tax.”

Current and future APD rates are as follows:

Bands Reduced rate (economy class) Premium rate
  Rate from 1 April 2015 Rate from 1 April 2016 Rate from 1 April 2015 Rate from 1 April 2016
Band A (0 – 2,000 miles) £13 £13 £26 £26
Band B (2,000 miles +) £71 £73 £142 £146