Scots airports call for devolved passenger duty

The airports believe devolving APD would provide a  tremendous boost to Scotland's tourism industry. Picture: TSPL
The airports believe devolving APD would provide a tremendous boost to Scotland's tourism industry. Picture: TSPL
Share this article
5
Have your say

NEW flights are to take off from Glasgow to Bournemouth next year, it was revealed today.

The flights, which will be launched next March and run twice a day, will coincide with the relaunch of Flybe’s Aberdeen base. Flights from Glasgow to Jersey will also return as part of the summer schedule.

Meanwhile, airport bosses from across Scotland called for fast action on Smith Commission recommendations for Air Passenger Duty.

CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN

Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning

• You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google +

Glasgow airport managing director Amanda McMillan joined bosses from Edinburgh and Aberdeen in urging Westminster to commit to devolving Air Passenger Duty (APD) to Holyrood.

In the letter, the three transport leaders said by devolving APD to Scotland, the UK Government will deliver a “tremendous boost to Scotland’s tourism industry and it’s economy as a whole.”

It read: “We are aware of and understand concerns which have been raised by our counterparts in England, regarding APD, however, we believe that any tax competition across the border would be minimal and is not in itself a good reason to prevent the devolution of the tax to Holyrood.

“In almost all cases, Scottish airports do not compete substantially with airports in the north of England for flights - our most energetic competition is in Europe where there is no tax at all.

“What is more, APD is a self-contained tax and does not interact with the rest of the fiscal system.

“This makes it inherently suitable for devolution as the partial, trouble free devolution to the Northern Ireland Assembly shown.”

Comment: Airport growth in London can benefit UK

The calls have been back by the SNP, who are also urging Westminster to commit to the recommendations revealed by Lord Smith last week.

SNP MSP Mark MacDonald said:”(The letter) backs up our position and means the UK government must act now.

“The ball is now very much in Westminster’s court and the onus is on them to deliver - sooner rather than later.”

Industry experts reckon that making APD under Scottish control would throw open the arrival gates to struggling airports like Prestwick.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has been a high profile critic of the tax, labelling it a “major disincentive”, for airlines setting up at regional airports like Prestwick.

The Smith Commission, which has reported on extra powers for Scotland, recommended APD be included in the package.

SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS

• Download your free 30-day trial for our iPad, Android and Kindle apps

Keep up to date with all aspects of Scottish life with The Scotsman iPhone app, completely free to download and use