Policy actions  3 of 6

Air Departure Tax

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

Air Passenger Duty was devolved by the Scotland Act 2016, enabling us to make our own arrangements for the design and collection of its replacement, ADT. The Air Departure Tax (Scotland) Act 2017 made provision for such a tax.

ADT policy and engagement

We aim to initially reduce the overall burden of ADT by 50%, and to abolish the tax when resources allow. We believe this will help to:

  • boost Scotland's air connectivity
  • increase Scotland's economic competitiveness
  • encourage the establishment of new routes to enhance business connectivity and inbound tourism

ADT's introduction in Scotland will be deferred until the issues raised in relation to the exemption for flights departing from the Highlands and Islands have been resolved, to ensure that devolved powers are not compromised.

We continue to work with the UK Government to seek a solution. Despite our efforts, and combined with the continuing uncertainty as to how Brexit might affect aviation, it has become clear that it will not be possible to introduce the tax in April 2019 as planned.

In the interim, the UK Government will maintain the application of Air Passenger Duty in Scotland and the current UK APD rates and bands, as well as the existing Highlands and Islands exemption, will continue to apply.

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 are using 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 continue to explore solutions to deliver the best possible outcome for the Highlands and Islands.