The bosses of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports have called on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to make a 50% cut in air passenger duty in 2018 a Holyrood election manifesto commitment.
Devolution of the power to charge tax on air passengers leaving Scottish airports was a recommendation of the Smith Commission.
The Scottish Government intends to reduce the burden of APD in Scotland by 50%, but the timescale for doing so stretches until 2021.
Calling for implementation within a first year of the power being devolved, Aberdeen International Airport managing director Carol Benzie said: ““The reduction and eventual abolition of APD will play a major role in strengthening Scotland’s connectivity and will help to boost our economy.
“This is all the more important when taking into account the current economic conditions in the north-east of Scotland and the effect of the current low oil price.
“It is vital that the Scottish Government makes progress on this policy as a matter of urgency to ensure that the north-east of Scotland can make a swift recovery, that our tourism industry can continue to flourish and that those who are eager to travel in and from Scotland are not unfairly penalised by the highest air passenger tax in the world.”
Mrs Benzie and Edinburgh and Glasgow airport chiefs – Gordon Dewar and Amanda McMillan respectively – are backed by Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive Liz Cameron, who said: “Air passenger duty is a tax on Scotland’s connectivity and a tax on international trade.
“The UK is currently one of the few European countries to apply a tax on air travel and it does so at a very high rate.
“Devolution of APD, therefore, gives Scotland the opportunity to boost our competitiveness by decisively reducing the impact of this tax by 50%.
“Doing so would make Scotland an even more attractive place to do business and the sooner this tax is cut, the better.”