Edinburgh Airport has urged the Scottish Government to act immediately and set a timetable for the reduction of Air Passenger Duty (APD), so that airlines and the tourism industry may plan for the change.
The push comes after a new report by the airport said that the promised 50% reduction in APD will create 3,800 jobs by 2020 and stimulate £200m of economic benefits each year. The report, produced in partnership with independent consultancy firm York Aviation, confirms the findings of previous studies that APD is a significant barrier to growth.
The airport’s chief executive, Gordon Dewar said: ‘We’ve long argued that APD is a tax on Scotland’s ability to compete with European airport of or size, and our economy is footing the bill in lost jobs and lost opportunities. It’s also damaging the ability for our passengers to travel and to take advantage of the amazing connectivity we have from Edinburgh.
‘Our report shows that the economic benefit of a reduction will outweigh any lost tax revenues. It’s therefore reasonable for passengers, airlines and the tourism industry to have some certainty on when this regressive tax will be reduced, and to know whether it will eventually be scrapped.’
The new report also claims that if APD is not reduced, Scotland will lose out on one million passengers a year and would cost the Scottish economy up to £68 million in lost tourism expenditure every year.
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: ‘Scotland is a must-visit tourism destination and, every year, we welcome millions of visitors from all over the world.
‘There is no doubt, however, that Air Passenger Duty is acting as a major deterrent to many potential visitors. Few other EU countries levy APD, so this places Scottish tourism at a competitive disadvantage.
‘We are pleased that, as of May, APD will no longer apply to under 12s and that fiscal authority for APD will ultimately be transferred to the Scottish Government, as recommended by the Smith Commission.’