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Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports have joined forces to urge first minister Nicola Sturgeon to stick with her election manifesto pledge to halve Air Passenger Duty by April 2018.
Independent research commissioned by Edinburgh airport found that a 50% cut in the air tax would generate an additional 4,000 jobs and bolster Scotland’s economy by an additional £1 billion.
The bosses of the three airports have signed a joint letter to the leader of the Scottish National Party, calling on her to implement the cut in APD “as soon as possible”.
Edinburgh airport chief executive, Gordon Dewar, said: “We welcome the Scottish government’s recognition that Air Passenger Duty is an iniquitous tax hitting all of our passengers – that is why we are urging Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP to make a commitment to halve APD by 2018.
“It needs to be a priority because any piecemeal approach would significantly undermine the benefits that an early 50% cut would bring.
“We are asking Nicola Sturgeon to underline her government’s commitment and to take action that would strengthen Scotland’s economy by an additional £1 billion, deliver 4,000 jobs, boost tourism and create prosperity for Scotland.”
Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow airport, said: “Scotland’s major airports have always had a very clear position on the importance of abolishing APD.
“In 2014, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports together made the case for the devolution of APD to the Smith Commission, and we welcomed the positive response to that in the final report which was published last year.
“We would urge the Scottish government to implement its promised 50% cut in APD as soon as possible.
“The longer this regressive tax is in place, the longer it will damage Scotland’s economy, our tourism potential and our ability to prosper as a nation. This is something which has also been recognised by our business and tourism partners.”
Aberdeen airport managing director, Carol Benzie, said: “The reduction and eventual abolition of APD will play a major role in strengthening Scotland’s connectivity and will help to boost our economy.
“This is all the more important when taking into account the current economic conditions in the north east of Scotland and the effect of the current low oil price.
“It is vital that the Scottish government makes progress on this policy as a matter of urgency to ensure that the north east of Scotland can make a swift recovery, that our tourism industry can continue to flourish and that those who are eager to travel in and from Scotland are not unfairly penalised by the highest air passenger tax in the world.”
Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive, Liz Cameron added: “Air Passenger Duty is a tax on Scotland’s connectivity and a tax on international trade.
“The UK is currently one of the few European countries to apply a tax on air travel and it does so at a very high rate.
“Devolution of APD therefore gives Scotland the opportunity to boost our competitiveness by decisively reducing the impact of this tax by 50%. Doing so would make Scotland an even more attractive to do business and the sooner this tax is cut, the better.”
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