Air Passenger Duty and Scotland
Air Passenger Duty (APD) is a departure tax levied on most air travel. Each geographical band has two rates of Air Passenger Duty, one for standard class and the second for ‘other’ higher classes of travel (usually business / first class). Since 1 April 2016, band A ranges from £13 for a standard class journey and £26 for an ‘other’ class of travel. Band B for journeys over 2,000 miles ranges from £73 to £146. The Band B rates will increase to £75 and £150 from April 2017.
Children under 16 are exempt from APD when travelling in standard economy class. There are also exemptions from APD for flights from airports in the Scottish Highlands and Islands as well as an exemption for direct long haul flights departing from Northern Ireland. Passengers using certain classes of private jets face higher charges.
Last year, the Scottish government launched a consultation on plans to reform and reduce APD in Scotland by launching a Scottish replacement for APD. The Scottish government has now confirmed that APD will be replaced by a Scottish Air Departure Tax from April 2018. As expected, the new tax will be set at half the APD bands. The Scottish government has also committed to abolish the Scottish Air Departure Tax entirely when finances allow.
Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said:
‘This Bill is a key milestone in making sure Scotland remains an attractive destination for business and tourists alike. By reducing the burden of Air Departure Tax by 50% and then entirely when finances allow, we have the potential to open up new air routes, improve our international connectivity and help Scotland access key and emerging markets, while giving due consideration to environmental issues.’