60% of MPs support proposals to apply the same rates of Air Passenger Duty across the whole of the UK should Scotland reduce the tax by 50%

With the Chancellor of the Exchequer due to deliver his Budget statement on 16 March, a new ComRes poll commissioned by the Airport Operators Association (AOA), the trade association representing over 50 UK airports, has found that the majority of MPs (60%) support proposals to apply the same rate of Air Passenger Duty (APD) across the whole of the UK, in the event of the Scottish Government reducing the tax in Scotland by 50%.

A quarter of MPs surveyed strongly support this policy proposal (26%), and a majority of MPs from the Conservative (64%) and Labour (59%) parties express their support. At least half of MPs from all UK regions are supportive.

The AOA has this week written to the Chancellor urging him to use the Budget to respond to the Treasury’s discussion paper on APD so as to provide certainty to UK airports, and the aviation and travel industry more generally.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the AOA, said: “The Airport Operators Association agrees with the Scottish Government’s assertion that that overall rate of APD should be reduced as soon as possible, and we understand its reasoning for wanting to reduce the tax by 50%, with a view to abolishing it when economic conditions allow. As a membership organisation that represents airports in every part of the UK, however, we are understandably concerned about the impact that such a move will have on all of our members in all parts of the country. It absolutely cannot be right or fair for one part of the UK to be able to offer a substantially lower rate of APD compared to other areas of the country.

“It has now been well over six months since the Government published its discussion paper on APD, and as an industry we responded to it diligently and in good faith. We now need the Chancellor to set out his emerging thinking so that everyone – airports, airlines and customers – can start to plan for the future with a degree of certainty. The Scottish Government could not have been clearer that it plans to start reducing APD by 50% in 2018. The time has come for the Treasury to tell us how they will respond to this move.”