Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Northern Ireland Airports welcome APD report ©


                                                     
Northern Ireland Airports have welcomed the report ‘An Air Transport Strategy for Northern Ireland’, produced by the House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee reinforces the view that airports have been saying for the past three years; APD acts as an artificial barrier to developing both leisure and business routes and is hindering potential future growth.

The House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee says that Air Passenger Duty on short haul flights—which make up 98.5% of all flights to Northern Ireland—remains a major stumbling block to rebalancing the NI economy and must be scrapped on all flights to NI from Great Britain and on all flights from NI. The report stated Links to hub airports such as Heathrow, should be maintained and further routes actively sought, and road and rail links to all three of Northern Ireland's airports must be improved.

Laurence Robertson MP Chair of the Committee said "For the people of Northern Ireland air travel is not a luxury, it is fundamental to family and economic life. To help rebalance the Northern Ireland economy, it is vital that air links to Great Britain, mainland Europe and the rest of the world are robust ".

Belfast International Airport Managing Director John Dorans said “The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has produced a report that should help develop a new approach to a sector that offers considerable but as yet untapped economic potential, the removal of APD on short-haul flights would help Northern Ireland compete more effectively with Dublin Airport and produce attractive returns in terms of increased passenger numbers and a viable and expanding tourism sector, this is particularly critical as 80% of air traffic in and out of NI is to GB and APD is charged at both ends of a return trip. The result is that on any return trip to any destination in England Scotland or Wales, £26 of the ticket price simply goes on taxation".

City of Derry Airport Director Damien Tierney said "APD charged in the UK is already the highest in the world and is up to 8.5 times more than the European average.  For example, Air Travel Tax [Ireland’s APD equivalent] is charged at a flat rate of €3 per departing passenger, whereas the UK domestic rate is £13 per departing passenger, 400% higher.  We believe this creates an unfair market situation and is inhibiting our ability to attract new carriers and routes to the North West region, especially with Derry being the host city for the 2013 UK City of Culture".

George Best Belfast City Airport CEO Brian Ambrose said "Management at Belfast City Airport welcomes all of the recommendations detailed in the report published today.,we hope both Westminster and the NI Executive give serious consideration to providing an Air Passenger Duty solution in which the duty no longer acts as a barrier for local business or has a negative impact on UK tourism into Northern Ireland, alll elements of the strategy would have a positive impact on the Northern Ireland economy and strengthen air links to and from this island ".

Irish Aviation Research Institute © 5th December 2012 All Rights Reserved.

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