Glen completes SPAA presidency tenure with APD regret

Glen completes SPAA presidency tenure with APD regret

The departing Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association president has admitted feeling disappointment over the Scottish National Party’s failure to reduce Air Passenger Duty by 50% before his two year term ended.

Alan Glen will leave his role next month after completing a two-year tenure as president. He will be replaced by vice-president Ken McLeod.

Glen, also a director for Glen Travel, had hoped to see the Scottish air tax, described as one of the highest taxes of its kind in the world, cut by half before then.

Last month SPAA members were told a final decision by Holyrood was to be delayed after it emerged plans to continue exempting journeys from Highlands and Islands airports required EU approval under state aid rules.

Glen told Travel Weekly: “To cut APD should be good for business, it should be good for Scotland so yes, I am disappointed.

“I don’t know whether it is because the SNP feel they won’t be able to get it through parliament with a majority or whether it is because they realise they don’t have the money because it will come off the other end of the block – the payment they get from Westminster.

“It is something out of my control and it is up to the Scottish government [to make a decision]. We were just trying to advise and hopefully talk them into it.”

He also added he and the SPAA could not have done anything else to reduce APD during his time as president.

“We have done our job,” he said. “The fact that the political process has taken longer is not any reflection on us. We have pushed for it and we want it.”

The Scottish Parliament was given powers to charge tax on passengers leaving Scottish airports under the Scotland Act, which came into force last year. MSPs signed off the creation of the new tax in June.

The Scottish government wants to cut the new tax by 50%, before eventually scrapping it completely. It argues the move will boost the economy by increasing the number of flights to and from the country.

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