Calls for end of APD

Airport chiefs urge SNP to fulfil tax cut pledge

APD airport bosses

Airport bosses joined forces today to urge the SNP to make good on its election campaign promise to cut airport passenger duty.

Amanda McMillan, chief executive for Aberdeen and Glasgow airports, and Gordon Dewar, her counterpart in Edinburgh, met in the capital to raise awareness of the issue which they say is damaging Scotland’s economic prospects. A consultation process ends tomorrow (Friday).

They were joined outside the Scottish parliament by Sophie Dekkers, UK country director for EasyJet.

Mr Dewar said UK aviation taxes were higher than in other countries and therefore making the country uncompetitive.

Asked how confident he was that the Scottish government would cut APD, he said: “There is no room for complacency, but was one of the specific promises in the SNP manifesto.”

Opponents of a tax cut say it is unnecessary at a time when the airports are enjoying record numbers of travellers.

He said: “The idea that there could be too much growth is a strange one. Why would you pass over such an opportunity? It is a regressive tax.”

Ms McMillan pointed out that the 21 million passengers using the central belt airports were actually only back to their 2008 level, so growth had been slow.

Ms Dekkers, whose company has pledged 30% more flights for Scotland if the tax cut is introduced, said there are no direct flights from the country to 50 of Europe’s biggest cities.

The aviation industry argues that the loss of income from a cut in tax would be recovered from the added passenger growth.

The SNP said it would cut APD by half and eventually abolish it. A decision is expected in the autumn.

Photo: Gordon Dewar, Sophie Dekkers and Amanda McMillan (by Terry Murden)

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