Air Departure Tax

Air Departure Tax (ADT) is Scotland's planned replacement for Air Passenger Duty (APD), which is a tax on all eligible passengers leaving UK airports.

The Scotland Act 2016 included the power to introduce a devolved tax on the carriage of passengers by air from airports in Scotland. This allows us to make our own arrangements for the design and collection of a replacement for APD in Scotland.

The Air Departure Tax (Scotland) Act 2017 made provision for such a tax.

The Scottish Government remains fully committed to introducing the ADT when a solution to the Highlands and Islands exemption issue has been found. Air connectivity is critical for the Highlands and Islands and the existing exemption must remain in place to protect remote and rural communities, and to ensure that the devolved powers are not compromised.

Following the advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change in 2019 – and the 2045 target for net-zero emissions adopted as a result – we came to the conclusion that the economic benefits we had sought through our policy of reducing ADT were not compatible with our new emissions targets.

We will continue to work with the UK Government to find a solution that remains consistent with our climate ambitions. The UK Government will maintain the application and administration of APD in Scotland in the interim.

Consultations and reports

Between March and June 2016, we carried out a first phase of two public consultations on a Scottish APD replacement tax: one on the structure and operation of the policy, and another on the initial findings, scope and methodology of the strategic environmental assessment for the policy.

Between June and September 2017, we carried out a second phase of two public consultations on the 50% reduction and environmental report for ADT.

During the passage of the Air Departure Tax Bill, we committed to conducting and publishing a range of assessments on ADT. Transport Scotland commissioned:

We will use these reports to inform our decisions on the final tax bands and rate amounts for ADT that will be set in secondary legislation and laid before the Scottish Parliament.

Stakeholder engagement

We set up the ADT Stakeholder Forum in August 2015 to help inform the ADT policy and legislative proposals.

We set up the ADT Highlands and Islands Working Group in May 2018 to develop a joint understanding of the issues and the importance of the current exemption to Highlands and Islands business and residents, and to explore solutions to deliver the best possible outcome for the Highlands and Islands.

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