SNP calls for immediate power on air passenger tax

Mackay: airports held back. Picture: John Devlin

Mackay: airports held back. Picture: John Devlin

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THE transport minister has called for control over air passenger duty (APD) to be devolved to Holyrood immediately.

Derek Mackay wants Westminster to transfer powers over the tax to the Scottish Parliament as soon as possible.

The Smith Commission, set up to agree further devolution to Edinburgh in the wake of the independence referendum, has recommended that the duty be devolved.

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Mackay said the swift transfer of the power was necessary to maximise the Scottish aviation industry’s potential.

Over the past 12 months, long-haul services have begun between Scotland and destinations such as Doha and Chicago, while new routes to Abu Dhabi and Halifax, Nova Scotia, have been announced for next year.

Other links have been established to Dublin, Marrakech and Geneva, as well as London City and the Isle of Man.

Mackay said: “I congratulate all our airports for their successes this year, which come despite an air passenger duty regime that clearly holds them back in comparison to their competitors around Europe.

“UK APD is the most expensive tax of its kind in Europe and its impact on Scotland cannot continue to be ignored. Airports and airlines repeatedly cite it as one of the biggest obstacles when it comes to securing new direct international services.

“By devolving APD to Scotland we could unlock the country’s full potential, bringing significant opportunities for airlines, Scotland’s airports and passengers.”

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