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16 July 2014

BA Reveal That Air Passenger Duty to Blame for Axing of Aberdeen Route

The revelation that APD charges are behind the decision by BA to cut the Aberdeen to London City route has been described as “the final wakeup call” for North East politicians.

In today’s Press & Journal (Wednesday), BA Executive Chairman Keith Williams blamed the Westminster Government’s Air Passenger Duty (APD) as a key factor in the decision to axe the route. Keith Williams stated that “air passenger duty has played a significant part in this route failing to reach commercial viability. It would be encouraging if Sir Malcolm Bruce continued the campaign against APD, which has been repeatedly increased by the government he supports.”

Malcolm Bruce has previously campaigned for a cut to Air Passenger Duty, but despite his elevation to Deputy Leader of the LibDems in the House of Commons, the tax remains in place.

Research revealed by the SNP last week showed that before 2007, a family of four going on holiday to Spain would have paid just £20 in APD for the return trip. The same family making the trip today face a surcharge of £52.

For long-distance flights the cost is even more marked. In 2007 a family of four travelling to Florida would have paid £80 in APD for their trip. Today the ‘tourism tax’ would cost them £276.

Scotland’s Future sets out plans to cut APD in Scotland by 50% before moving towards the complete abolition of the charge that discourages airlines from flying to and from Scotland.

Commenting, SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“These remarks from Keith Williams are deeply telling as once again Westminster’s Air Passenger Duty has damaged Scotland’s economic interests.

“The Aberdeen to London City route is an important service, but is trying to compete with one hand tied behind its back thanks to the punitive tax applied to such services.

“The fact is that despite repeated opportunities and calls to act, all we have seen from Westminster is Air Passenger Duty rise and rise.

“It is abundantly clear that the only way we will get action on APD is with a Yes vote in September.

“Keith Williams is also right that all North East politicians – including Sir Malcolm Bruce – should recognise how damaging APD is to the economy of this part of Scotland and be actively campaigning for its abolition. This must be the final wakeup call for all North East politicians.

“But the fact that despite his promotion to Deputy Leader, Malcolm Bruce has been unable to make any inroads into cutting APD shows that it is only with a Yes vote that we will see real progress.

“With a Yes vote in September, we can cut APD with a view to abolishing it completely – making major savings for air passengers and supporting jobs across Scotland’s economy.”
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