Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, used the launch of Flybe’s new services from London City Airport this week to slam Air Passenger Duty, describing it as “a real imposition on regional connectivity”.
Speaking on Monday morning from Newham Council Offices, where guests watched as new Flybe services from Aberdeen, Inverness, Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin and Exeter landed at London City, Salmond said: “The fact that on a £49 flight from Aberdeen, £13 of it is going on APD is outrageous and ludicrous. We need to have APD set at competitive levels so airlines like Flybe – and many others – can continue increasing the connectivity between the regions and London.
“These services being launched by Flybe today are so important. They are extremely useful to people and extremely beneficial to economies.
“For business customers, they left Aberdeen this morning and could have been out rowing on the Thames by 8am. And certainly in central London for a meeting by 9am.
“And the price and timings make it a huge leisure opportunity too. These Flybe flight are superb,” he said.
Salmond predicted the Flybe services would be a success, unlike Virgin Atlantic’s recently terminated regional service, Little Red.
He said: “These will be successful as they are designed for connectivity of cities in the region with London.
“Little Red was just a feeder service for its transatlantic flights, but people in the regions didn’t want that. It goes against our aviation strategy which is to get more direct international flights out of Scotland.”
Also speaking from the launch event, Janice Howgarth of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association, said: “Connections from Scotland to London are imperative. Regional and domestic flying is so important, particularly from places really far north like Aberdeen and Inverness. We have been crying out for this.”
She added: “It’s lovely to see Flybe on its feet again after such a difficult time. It’s absolutely brilliant what Saad Hammad and his team has done – Flybe is a great airline.”
Sourced from Travel Weekly