Prime Minister must match words with actions on Air Passenger Duty devolution, say UK airports

Responding to today’s Queen’s Speech, which unveiled a Bill that will give the Scottish Government the power to, amongst other things, set its own rate of Air Passenger Duty for passengers departing Scottish airports, Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association, the trade association representing 50 UK airports, said:

“The Scottish Government has been clear for some time that once the power to set APD rates is devolved then it intends to reduce the tax for passengers departing Scottish airports by 50%, with a view to abolishing it altogether at a later date. Whilst we would support any reduction in such eye-wateringly high levels of APD, we also take the view that such action must be replicated across the whole of the UK, to ensure that passengers and airports in areas outside Scotland are not put at a disadvantage.

“Before and during the general election campaign Prime Minister David Cameron clearly stated that a reduction in APD north of the border would distort competition and damage airports and businesses in the rest of the UK, if such action was not matched across the board. UK airports have been clear that a cut anywhere must be matched by the same reduction everywhere, so that we can maintain a consistent rate of APD and ensure that the most competitive aviation market in the world is not undermined by distortive levels of taxation.”