Scotland seeks devolved control of air passenger duty

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The Scottish government is persevering with its campaign for devolved control of air passenger duty (APD), despite increasing resistance from airport bosses in England.

Scotland's finance secretary John Swinney and infrastructure secretary Alex Neil wrote to the Treasury on 13 January, claiming that the current Westminster-set level of APD was hindering Scottish airports' ability to compete for new international routes.

However, airports in the north east of England today stepped up their anti-devolution lobby, arguing that it would give Scottish airports an unfair advantage.

"The devolving of APD varying powers to Scotland would have a damaging impact on other UK regions," said Graeme Mason, planning and corporate affairs director at Newcastle Airport.

"In particular, the north east would be harmed, with air services and customers potentially relocating north of border."

Mason added that Newcastle, in partnership with other regional airports, would support a congestion-based approach to setting APD rates, which would see the UK's busier airports paying more.