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An environmental group today urged Scottish ministers to “pause and think” about its plans to cut Air Passenger Duty (APD) rates at airports in Scotland.
The call by WWF Scotland follows an admission by a number of airlines that APD rates will have no impact on their expansion plans in Scotland.
Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Jet2 all told the Scotsman that the tax had no impact on their development plans
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “The admission by these big players in the aviation industry that APD rates won’t affect their future plans should prompt the Scottish government to pause and think about its plans to cut the rates.
“Scottish ministers have admitted that halving APD would encouraging more flying and increase carbon emissions by as much as 60,000 tonnes a year.
“This means that, if we want to meet our climate targets, any growth in emissions from the aviation sector will have to be offset by deeper cuts elsewhere in Scotland’s economy.”
However, Glasgow Airport said APD was hampering its expansion.
A spokesman said: “In recent years, we have been able to consolidate our position as Scotland’s principal long-haul airport, most recently with the addition of direct flights to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
“However, in our discussions with airlines, the issue of APD still remains a very real barrier to growth. We are competing in a global market and the fact the UK has one of the highest rates of aviation tax in the world means that, when faced with a choice, airlines will opt to place aircraft in countries that enjoy more favourable taxation policies.
“In 2013, Ireland scrapped its equivalent of APD. As a result, Dublin airport has enjoyed a marked increase in its international connectivity.”
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