Airport transfers news – Air passenger duty 50% cut “a genuine game changer”

In November the Smith Commission published proposals  , supported by the main UK political parties, to devolve responsibility for  air passenger duty in Scotland  to the Scottish government. Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar has expressed his opposition to air passenger duty on many occasions , calling it a real competitive disadvantage for the airport .

Airports in England  have called upon the Treasury to ensure that no parts of the country are “disadvantaged” by any reduction in the tax in Scotland, in advance of the UK government setting out draft legislation on these plans by January 25.

AOA chief executive Darren Caplan said despite government attempts to reform APD it still continues to be the highest in the world and represents a barrier to trade, investment and tourism.

A cut in air passenger duty in one part of the country should be matched by a cut everywhere, according to the Airport Operators Association , the trade body that represents more than 50 airports.

He said more needs to be done to tackle the tax in all parts of the UK. “The Smith Commission’s proposal to devolve APD to Scotland is a genuine game changer, given the long-stated ambition of the Scottish Government to reduce APD by 50% in the short-term, to be followed by eventual abolition in the future,” said Caplan.

“Now that the Scottish Government plans to follow our European competitors in taking action on this tax, the Treasury should think seriously about the impact that this will have on the rest of the UK.

“We continue to believe that a cut in APD anywhere should be matched, immediately, by a cut everywhere, so that no parts of the country are disadvantaged in any way, and we urge the Treasury to publish a plan that sets out how and when this can be delivered.”

The Smith Commission was announced by prime minister David Cameron in the wake of the Scottish independence referendum last year.

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