UKinbound has welcomed a call from the Scottish Conservatives for the abolition of Air Passenger Duty on long-haul flights.

The party today declared its backing for plans to remove the air travel tax on flights longer than 2,000 miles once APD is devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

The party is also supporting an immediate APD freeze on flights to the UK and Europe to ensure passengers can also enjoy cheaper fares to destinations nearer to home.

This new policy forms part of the Scottish Conservatives’ economic strategy ahead of Brexit – which is focused on ensuring Scotland gets connected to the global economy.

Calls will also be made for the SNP government in Scotland to back the plan on the grounds it offers “the best bang for taxpayers’ buck”.

UKinbound chief executive Deirdre Wells said: “The Scottish Conservatives’ policy announcement calling for the abolition of APD on long-haul flights is a positive step forward and is warmly welcomed by UKinbound.

“We now urge the Scottish government to swiftly see through their proposal, in a move that will undoubtedly stimulate visitor numbers, spend, and strengthen links to Scotland.

“Westminster is looking increasingly isolated in Europe over its position on APD and we would urge the Chancellor to reconsider his Autumn Statement position, in time for the Budget.”

Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said: “APD is one of the new powers of the Scottish Parliament coming our way thanks to our proposals to strengthen devolution.

“As we prepare for Brexit, it is more important than ever to use these powers to go global, so we can create new jobs, deliver more opportunities, and build a stronger economy.

“Abolishing APD for long-haul flights has the potential to do just that for Scotland.

“Airlines will be incentivised to put on new direct long-haul flights from Scotland.

“That means instead of having to go via London or Amsterdam, families and businesses would be able to get on a plane in Edinburgh or Glasgow and fly direct to China or the USA, or other global destinations.

“This is a win-win. It makes thing more convenient for travellers, it helps with our carbon footprint by reducing the number of connecting flights, and it will boost tourism and trade.

“The SNP has proposed a blanket 50% cut in APD for all flights leaving Scotland.

“While this plan has merit, our view is that it does not deliver the best value for money.

“Thanks to our devolution proposals, APD will come into force in Scotland in 2018.

“We now look forward to a constructive dialogue with the Scottish government to deliver a real economic boon for our country.”