Northern airports will suffer if Scotland votes for independence, says IAG’s Walsh

Northern airports will suffer if Scotland votes for independence, says IAG's WalshBy Phil Davies

Image via ShutterstockEnglish holidaymakers will change their travel plans and travel north of the border to avoid flight taxes if Scotland votes for independence, according to International Airlines Group chief Willie Walsh.

If Scotland breaks away from the union he expects to see passengers favouring flying from airports in a newly independent nation to avoid Air Passenger Duty charged by the Westminster government.

“Absolutely without question it will happen,” IAG chief executive told The Telegraph, dismissing claims that APD represents only a fraction of a flight’s cost.

“It is that much money to avoid that it is a factor. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool,” said Walsh.

“An independent Scottish government has made clear they would abolish APD because they see it as damaging to the economy and that is exactly what we will see – a million people drive to Dublin from Northern Ireland every year to avoid APD.”

Walsh believes airports in the north of England such as Newcastle would suffer as passengers head north, should Scotland become independent.

But he said British Airways would be unlikely to shake up its flag-carrying services to capitalise on this.

“We would look at it but [flights from Scotland] are a small part of the business,” he said, though he added that IAG’s recently acquired low-cost carrier Vueling could move in to take advantage.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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