Air Departure Tax (ADT), a tax payable by aircraft operators and charged on the carriage of chargeable passengers on chargeable aircraft by air from airports in Scotland, is expected to come into effect in Scotland from 1 April 2018, replacing UK Air Passenger Duty.
A fundamental part of the Scottish Government’s plans for ADT is a commitment to a 50% reduction in the overall tax burden by the end of the current session of the Scottish Parliament and also abolishing the tax when resources allow.
The Scottish Government believes that a 50% reduction in the overall burden of ADT by the end of the current session of Parliament will boost Scotland‘s air connectivity and economic competitiveness, encouraging the establishment of new routes which would enhance business connectivity and inbound tourism and help generate sustainable growth.
Important decisions have yet to be taken on how the overall 50% reduction could be delivered, including how the reduction will be distributed across tax bands (e.g. short-haul and long-haul flights) and tax rates and the profile of the reduction to ADT.
The Scottish Government is currently undertaking a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in relation to the overall 50% ADT reduction policy, in compliance with the requirements of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005, which requires that a SEA be carried out where a policy plan or programme is likely to have a significant environmental impact.
The SEA process started with the production of a Screening and Scoping Report that was issued for public consultation in March 2016. Following this initial period of consultation, the assessment built on the work set out in the Screening and Scoping Report and has been informed by the comments received.
The next main step of the SEA process is to publicly consult on both the overall 50% ADT reduction policy and an Environmental Report. The Environmental Report outlines the findings of the assessment of the plan against a wide range of environmental topics such as climate factors, air quality, material assets and biodiversity.