EDINBURGH Airport has published a report that suggests the Scottish Government’s promised 50% reduction in Air Passenger Duty (APD) will create 3,800 jobs by 2020 and stimulate £200m of economic benefits each year.
The airport’s Chief Executive, Gordon Dewar, has called on Ministers to act now and provide a timetable for the reduction of APD, to allow airlines and the tourism industry to plan for the change.
Mr Dewar said: “We‘ve long argued that APD is a tax on Scotland’s ability to compete with European airports 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 report, produced in partnership with independent consultancy firm York Aviation, reiterates the findings of previous studies undertaken on behalf of Scotland’s airports and shows that APD is a significant barrier to growth.
Key findings include: A 50% reduction would provide benefits to Scotland worth £200 million per annum, a 50% reduction would bring considerable benefits to local communities across Scotland by creating 3,800 new jobs by 2020; Scotland will lose out on one million passengers a year if APD is not reduced; and by 2020 (if not reduced), APD would be costing 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.”
Tristan Nesbitt, Chairman of the Edinburgh Hotels Association, said: “Edinburgh is a world-class destination and an international creative and cultural hub that welcomes over 4 million visitors per year. In order to remain competitive and to continue enticing more visitors to our city, it is crucial that Edinburgh is perceived as somewhere that offers great value for money.
“A reduction in Air Passenger Duty would make Edinburgh more competitive in all tourism segments, particularly in terms of business tourism which is key to driving year-round demand for the city. It would also ensure that the tourist industry continues to grow in Scotland, securing and generating more jobs within this important economic sector.”