FOR many years, airlines, airports and business leaders have been warning the government that Air Passenger Duty was damaging.

Airlines publicly stated it was a barrier to new routes, and airports said they had been told the increased cost was hampering them offering more direct routes from Scotland.

The Chancellor refused to reduce the rate or scrap the tax, even though examples of other countries showed the benefit of abolition or reduction.

Scots passengers travelling through London to destinations further afield are hit twice, as connecting domestic flights also incur the tax.

Measures to reduce the environmental damage caused by air travel are necessary, but a tax that penalised some parts of the country more than others was patently unfair.

The Scottish government, with devolution of APD, will now have the opportunity to devise a scheme that addresses these issues.

The initial reduction will be welcomed by passengers, businesses and airlines, and abolition will be even better.

The Evening Times has backed the calls for scrapping the tax, and welcomes the consultation on devising a replacement.

The Scottish Government must now seriously consider the arguments from the aviation industry and environmental campaigners to devise a method of mitigating the damage to the planet without damaging the economy.