Recent calculations of the House of Commons Library show that between 2011 and 2013, passengers flying to the Western Isles paid £3.58m in Air Passenger Duty (APD).
Although flights from the Western Isles are not charged Air Passenger Duty, flights from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness to the Western Isles are subject to APD.
According to new House of Common’s Library figures requested by Angus MacNeil MP, the amounts paid in APD in respect of flights to Na h-Eileanan an Iar were £1.21 in 2011, £1.12m in 2012 and £1.25m in 2013, totalling £3.58m.
Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus MacNeil said:
“This is an astonishing figure from a London tax that punishes locals, the business community and visitors further. This figure should not be taken lightly, it represents at least £52 for every return flight for a family of four.”
“This tax was designed to reduce congestion in London and South East of England airports. Instead APD punishes Scotland and its island communities by making our airports uncompetitive in their efforts to attract and consolidate new direct routes. This duty is restricting Scotland and our islands ability to realise the economic and business benefits which direct air connections bring.”
“While other countries, such as Ireland, abolish air passenger taxes, the former Labour UK Government consolidated and increased APD and the current Tory-LibDem coalition made it highest air passenger tax in the world.”
“Thanks to an extremely long campaign, the SNP has forced the UK Government to plan the devolution of this tax to Scotland. We are looking forward to gaining control over this tax and reduce it by 50% with the aim to abolish it completely as soon as we can.”