Holiday flights hit: Sturgeon, Johnson ‘misjudge scale’

AIRLINES, like oil and gas companies, are rightly a focus in the battle against the effects of the use of fossil fuels on our struggling climate.

A cut in Airport Passenger Duty for domestic flights from some time in 2023 was announced just before COP26 and provided Prime Minister Boris Johnson with fodder for his now forgotten headline catchphrase of the time.

It also fuelled SNP ire, with its Westminster leader Ian Blackford calling it a climate disgrace and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also slating the move.

It was described as a step in the right direction but too little too late by the likes of Ryanair, a budget airline that has and does help link many across Europe, albeit sometimes with a bullish type of approach to which not everyone warms.

Scottish tourism leaders were less reticent about aiding in some way the rebuilding of international connectivity upon which we have relied, and Marc Crothall, of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said that the move was a hugely positive step forward in the recovery of the Scottish travel and aviation sector.


Yet it does nothing to encourage a level of build-back that would help fund the acceleration of the development of clean-fuel aircraft.

Without doubt we need to find cleaner means of international travel as quickly as possible.

As with fossil fuels and the North Sea, until the alternatives are funded and in place the status quo cannot be abandoned regardless of consequence.

In one example of innovation, Loganair is an active partner in three future green flight projects including developing hydrogen power.

The Scottish Government aims to decarbonise scheduled flights within Scotland by 2040.

Ryanair said that UK APD is creating a direct competitive disadvantage for developing future aviation.

HeraldScotland: Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport.Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport.

The sentiment was echoed by Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, who said that so far the kind of investment Ryanair pledged this week – 10 aircraft worth $1 billion – is not being replicated.

He told The Herald: “Our governments, both Scottish and the UK, don’t seem to have understood about where we are in that recovery cycle. Not only have other countries not got that tax but they have also introduced levels of support.”

Moves like the UK Government’s APD cut, its energy crisis plan of action and the state of the economy could range in description from sleight of hand to brazen kidology.

Business editor Ian McConnell says in his Called to Account column this week that “there was something in the Tory tone (and not for the first time) that seemed to indicate they viewed themselves as munificent benefactors”.

He also says the UK economic output figures came with “dizzying spin and more front than Blackpool”.

Mark Williamson opines that “the sight of the SNP Government getting a lambasting this week over the free ports issue from the Greens to whom it has pandered could have been laughable if the issues involved weren’t so serious” in his column this week.

As John Menzies finds itself at the sharp end of a takeover bid by a Kuwaiti competitor, Scott Wright says the latest news is a fresh blow.

Also this week, in what is thought to be a UK first for a craft beer brewer, reports Kristy Dorsey, Edinburgh-based Vault City toasted a move to a four-day week.

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