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Air Passenger Duty: Welcome for Scottish Government’s change of policy

Published 07 May 2019 by Transform Scotland


Air Passenger Duty: Welcome for Scottish Government’s change of policy

Transform Scotland [1] has today (Tuesday 7 May) welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to cancel its plans to cut Air Passenger Duty (APD) / Air Departure Tax (ADT).

Colin Howden, Director of Transform Scotland:

“Nicola Sturgeon has shown strong leadership in reversing this ill-considered policy. Doling out a £300m annual tax cut to the aviation industry was neither affordable, equitable, nor compatible with the Climate Emergency that the First Minister has rightly announced.”

Regarding the views of the aviation industry reported elsewhere in the media, Howden said:

“Despite being the most polluting form of transport, the aviation industry is grossly under-taxed. Airlines pay no tax on aviation fuel, there is no VAT on tickets, and airports benefit from duty-free retail. Car drivers pay taxes on fuel, even trains and buses pay some taxes on fuel, but aviation avoids paying any tax at all. How many more tax cuts does this most-polluting of transport industries want?

“The aviation industry has made a series of wild claims regarding the economic benefits of cutting APD. However, the Scottish Parliament’s finance committee found no credible evidence base to support the aviation industry’s assertions when it scrutinised the Air Departure Tax Bill in 2017.” [2]

Transform Scotland, with Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, had earlier today jointly briefed the Scottish Parliament on tomorrow’s parliamentary debate, and this briefing is also available. [3]



[1] Transform Scotland is the national alliance for sustainable transport, bringing together organisations from the private, public and voluntary sectors — see <> for details.

[2] SP Finance Committee report on the ADT Bill: <–Scotland–Bill/5th%20Report,%202017.pdf>

[3] Transform/SCCS briefing: Along with Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, we have jointly briefed the Parliament ahead of tomorrow’s debate on APD. See <>.