Joint statement on Scottish Labour’s parliamentary debate on Air Departure Tax

May 7, 2019

Responding to the announcement made by the Scottish Labour Party that they will introduce a debate tomorrow calling on the Scottish Government to scrap plans to reduce the Air Departure Tax, Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, the industry association that represents 13 UK-registered carriers, Derek Provan, CEO of AGS Airports Ltd, owner of Glasgow and Aberdeen airports, and Gordon Dewar, CEO of Edinburgh Airport, said in a joint statement:

“We have always said that growth in aviation can and must go hand in hand with action on the environment but scrapping this policy will do nothing to reduce global CO2 emissions. As a global sector by nature the only way to achieve this is through international action, and that’s why over 190 countries have signed up to a carbon offsetting scheme that will address increases in total emissions from international aviation above 2020 levels.

“The industry has already decoupled growth in aviation from growth in emissions but we accept there is more to do and that’s why we’re investing billions in developing new sustainable aviation fuels to scale and bringing into service hundreds of new, cleaner and quieter aircraft like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 that offer huge environmental improvements on their predecessors.

“We welcome scrutiny from governments on this progress but the danger is that in trying to do their bit for the environment politicians lose sight of the serious work that is already being done by industries like ours and take decisions unilaterally that will do untold damage to Scotland’s international standing.”

“We’ve already seen Norwegian pull all their routes out of Edinburgh and services have been cut at Aberdeen and Glasgow also – including at the latter a sizeable reduction in capacity by Ryanair. This is the highly price sensitive end of the aviation market and just shows that the current sky-high rate of tax is damaging connectivity in Scotland and penalising hard working families whose only crime is wanting to take a well-earned trip away.”