Norwegian has attributed its decision to cancel its Edinburgh-Connecticut service, and reduce frequency on its Boston and New York routes, to the Scottish government’s failure to reduce Air Passenger Duty (APD).
Ken McLeod, Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) president, labelled the move “extremely disappointing”.
The Scottish government pushed back plans to cut APD by one year to 2019 in November, due to legal issues over an existing APD exemption for flights in the Highlands and Islands.
A Norwegian spokesperson said: “The prospect of a reduction in air passenger taxes meant we had been planning for continued future growth in Scotland.
“The Scottish government’s postponement of a reduction to air passenger taxes was therefore deeply disappointing and has led us to review existing transatlantic services from Edinburgh, with the decision to cut the route to Connecticut – which commenced last summer – and to reduce the frequency of flights to the Boston and New York areas.
“We will reallocate this capacity to other markets where passenger taxes do not present a barrier to our growth.
“We still see huge potential at Edinburgh and due to passenger demand we will be maintaining seven flights every week.
“However, we urge the Scottish government to quickly resurrect plans for a reduction in air passenger taxes, which would reopen the door to more flights and lower fares for passengers and a boost to Scotland’s connectivity.”
McLeod said: “[Norwegian’s] move is very disappointing. From the Scottish travel trade’s point of view Norwegian’s transatlantic connection from Edinburgh presented a huge number of opportunities.
“It was a bold move by Norwegian, and one we hoped would pay off for them.”