I am totally taken aback by British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh’s support for independence simply on the basis that air passenger duty (APD) might be reduced and later scrapped.
First of all, the proposal is merely an SNP aspiration, part of its wish-list. We do not know what the make-up of the independent Scottish Parliament would be and scrapping APD may not be a priority given that the income would have to be found from somewhere else.
Secondly, British Airways is the UK national flag carrier prominently using the Union flag. Great Britain will no longer exist after independence and neither will the British brand.
This is bound to have an impact on a major concern which is labelled “British”.
I’m not sure BA will be able to continue in its current form; its whole image built up over years would surely have to change. It would certainly be inappropriate for it to keep using the arguably defunct Union flag as its logo.
Thirdly, APD is there to recognise the environmental damage that air transport on its current scale does. Are we not trying to reduce travel by air rather than encourage it?
I am sure that the Greens, in their support for independence, will be embarrassed by BA’s position. I wonder where on earth Willie Walsh is coming from on this issue. Is he wearing blinkers?