13 May 2019
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce has called for the creation of a clear national aviation strategy for Scotland, following the Scottish Government's scrapping of plans to cut Air Departure Tax (ADT).
Making the announcement, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said the ADT proposals were "no longer compatible" with Scotland’s climate change targets.
Glasgow Chamber chief executive Stuart Patrick said: "An export strategy for Scotland was recently launched, but that has now been followed by a measure which will make it much more difficult to attract the airlines we need to get to those markets.
"Within days of the announcement it now seems that Hainan Airlines is about to pull out of its Edinburgh-Beijing route. Coincidence or not?
"It is becoming more and more obvious that there is a need for a national aviation strategy to encourage sustainable economic growth."
The SNP had planned to replace Air Passenger Duty (APD) with ADT, set at half the current rate - with control over aviation tax being handed to the Scottish Parliament as part of the latest phase of devolution.
However the Committee on Climate Change recommended that Scotland could achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, with ministers confirming the new target would be incorporated into the climate change bill, which recently completed stage one in its journey through parliament - and the ADT cut was scrapped.
Derek Mackay said: “All parts of government and society have a contribution to make to meeting this challenge - and reducing Air Departure Tax is no longer compatible with more ambitious climate targets.
“We continue to support our tourism industry, which is going from strength to strength, and we will work with the sector to develop in a sustainable way. We welcome their efforts – and those of the aviation industry - to reduce carbon emissions."