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Scottish economy must be central to UK and Scottish aviation strategy say business leaders

Scottish economy must be central to UK and Scottish aviation strategy say business leaders

Scottish business leaders have said that the needs of the Scottish economy must be central to future strategy on UK and Scottish aviation as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.

The call came following a meeting of Scottish business leaders and London City Airport in Edinburgh, hosted by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), where the impacts of Brexit on tourism, international trade and the wider Scottish economy were discussed.

Later this year the UK Government will publish a final Airports National Policy Statement. UK Government is also in the process of developing a new strategy for UK aviation. The Scottish Parliament has also recently passed the Air Departure Tax Bill, with an announcement on the proposed tax bands and tax rate amounts due in the Autumn.

Following the event, SCDI Chief Executive, Mark Bevan said:

“The message is very clear – the interests of the Scottish economy must be promoted in the forthcoming developments in UK and Scottish aviation policy – especially in light of Brexit but also to meet the demands of internal travel. Forthcoming decisions about airport expansion and aviation strategy have to weave together a complex mix of interests, but Scotland and all of the communities served by all of our airports must not be peripheral to its formulation.

“As one of Europe’s largest financial centres, alongside the need to access capital markets for growth funding, maintaining our connectivity with London’s financial and fintech district is crucial. As is protecting our internal and international connectivity and our ability to trade globally and attract tourism.”

The recent decision to re-establish the Inverness-Heathrow route, which has resulted in a fantastic increase in visitor numbers already, evidences the impact of an aviation policy that empowers the nations and regions.

Liam McKay, Director of Public Affairs at London City Airport, said:

“Airports on both sides of the border have a vital socio-economic role to play, providing air connectivity that supports growth opportunities for Scottish businesses.

“That is why it is essential that the UK and EU27 governments prioritise a transitional deal for aviation as soon as possible so we can keep the U.K. connected as a long term deal is negotiated.”

Mark added:

“Whilst we support the UK Government’s decision for additional capacity through a third runway at Heathrow, a longer term strategy that allows the economies of the nations and regions of the UK to thrive is crucial if we are to mitigate the impacts and maximise the opportunities of Brexit.”