Political parties in Scotland are being urged by airlines to support a halving of Air Passenger Duty.

A consultation on plans by the Scottish government to halve the tax from April 2018 comes to an end next week.

UK carriers are calling for politicians in Holyrood to support the reduction when a vote ultimately comes before the Scottish parliament.

British Air Transport Association chief executive Tim Alderslade said: “UK rates of Air Passenger Duty are amongst the highest in the world and are increasingly acting as a break on economic growth.

“Reducing this damaging tax by 50% would increase Scotland’s connectivity and better enable it to compete with its closest rivals in Europe, who either refuse to levy APD at all or do so at a substantially lower rate.”

He added: “The advantages of halving APD in Scotland have been well documented – £1 billion added to the economy by 2020, nearly 4,000 jobs created and welcome support for the Scottish tourism industry. It’s clear that any loss in tax revenue would be more than offset by increases in activity elsewhere.

“As an industry we recognise that future growth in aviation must go hand-in-hand with action to tackle carbon emissions and noise.

“Since 2005 UK airlines have introduced hundreds of new, quieter planes into service, representing a capital spend of almost $50 billion.

“In addition to investing in new fuels and operating procedures this is helping to reduce fuel burn and minimise carbon emissions.

“We therefore believe that the additional activity generated as a result of any future APD reduction is not incompatible with delivering on our environmental obligations. We urge political parties of all persuasions to support this policy.”