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Industry leaders welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement that Air Passenger Duty (APD) will be abolished for children under 12 next May.

Abta chief exeutive Mark Tanzer said: “Abta is delighted with today’s announcement – a clear indication that this government has listened to the case made by the A Fair Tax on Flying campaign to Scrap the Tax on Family Flights.”

The Chancellor went further than expected in his Autumn Statement today and extended the abolition to APD on children under16 from May 2016.

Tanzer said: “This is a hugely positive step for UK families.

“In tandem with the Government’s decision at the Budget to abolish the higher-rate APD bands C and D from April, there appears to be a growing consensus in the Government on the damaging impact of this blunt and harmful tax.”

However, Tanzer said: “UK businesses and consumers endure paying one of the highest flight taxes in the world.

“ABTA will continue to make the case that the positive momentum on APD must continue, starting with a much needed review of the tax more widely, with a view to setting a fairer, more competitive level of APD.”

Dale Keller, chief executive of the UK Board of Airline representatives (Bar UK) also welcomed the announcement.

He said: “This is the second reform to APD announced this year and demonstrates the growing awareness within government that the world’s highest air tax needs a severe pruning.

“Scrapping APD for children not only benefits UK families but also stimulates growth in inbound tourism and the efforts of the A Fair Tax on Flying campaign is to be applauded.”

Airport Operators Association (AOA) chief executive Darren Caplan said: “This will make it easier for hard-working families to enjoy an affordable holiday and provides a welcome shot in the arm to the UK tourism sector.

“It is clear the Treasury is acknowledging that not only are high-levels of APD an unnecessary barrier to business growth and investment but also a block on UK holidaymakers seeking a break and a disincentive to potential inbound tourists.

“We will continue to campaign for APD to come down across the board. But for now the Chancellor should be commended.”