Belfast International Airport

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End of APD ‘step in the right direction’

Published: 01 January 2013

Belfast International Airport has said that the reduction of Long Haul Air Passenger Duty (APD) to a zero rate in Northern Ireland signals the opening of new opportunities and was a ‘step in the right direction’.

The passenger tax on direct long-haul flights was re-based at midnight. The standard tax remains unchanged on short-haul flights, although this is the subject of a strong UK-wide lobby led by the aviation industry.

Belfast International Airport Managing Director, John Doran, said today marked an important change to a regressive tax that was bad for tourism and local business.

Mr Doran said: “Today marks a new beginning. At least on long-haul, Northern Ireland can now compete more effectively with the Republic of Ireland.

“It is the removal of one impediment in our drive to attract new operators to the market, but it shouldn’t be viewed as some sort of ‘silver bullet’ that will lead to a rapid expansion of long-haul services.

“It is one very important component in the offer we make to international carriers. Without it, we wouldn’t feature on their radar. At least now we can get into Boardrooms to make our pitch.

“There are real prospects out there, but this has got to be a joint effort by Northern Ireland plc.

“The disappearance of Long Haul APD today from Northern Ireland opens new opportunities, and is clearly a step in the right direction. Now, we must capitalise on it and move with some speed to put together a practical, well resourced package to take to the market. In that respect, we look forward to working closely with Ministers to see that Northern Ireland fully exploits this very welcome development”.

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