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The removal of Air Passenger Duty for children under 12 from today (Friday) does very little to make holidays more affordable for UK families, according to new research.
Just 14% of 2,000 parents quizzed by Travelzoo said they would be more likely to stick to agreed school holiday dates because of removal of tax on children’s flights.
The result shows that the change announced by chancellor George Osborne in December’s Autumn Statement does not go far enough.
Travelzoo has been campaigning for an end to what it calls the ‘Parent Trap’ – a combination of the introduction of fines for families who take children on holiday during term time, the highest flight tax in the world and the resulting increased pressure on holiday pricing due to the shorter windows when families can travel.
The study showed that nearly one in four UK families would still be prepared to risk school fines in spite of the APD removal, however a quarter of people said they would consider sticking to term dates if the tax was to be removed for the entire party travelling.
Travelzoo lodged a petition in July 2013 asking for the removal of APD for all UK passengers during the school holiday period.
European managing director, Richard Singer, said: “We started fighting the Parent Trap in 2013 as we feel very strongly that UK families are unfairly penalised for the simple desire to enjoy quality time on holiday.
“The toxic combination of the school fines, unfair taxation on flights and the peak pricing structure continue to make holidays out of reach for millions of UK families.
“As part of addressing this issue we urged the government to reward parents who stick to school holiday dates by removing APD for the whole family.
“Our research shows that removing APD for just the under-12s does not go far enough as 86% of families would not be incentivised to stick to approved holiday dates because of the tax relief for their children’s flights.”
He added: “We know from talking to UK parents that often members of the extended family come along – grandparents, for example.
“To remove APD for all passengers could start to make a real impact, and would encourage a quarter of UK parents to keep children in school during term time.
“This goes to show that nibbling at the edges of the problem – as the chancellor has done – has little benefit to anyone and risks looking like an empty gesture.”