Chancellor announces overhaul of Air Passenger Duty in NI
Published: 27 September 2011
The Chancellor, in consultation with the Secretary of State Owen Paterson and the Northern Ireland Executive, today announces that from 1 November Air Passenger Duty will be cut for passengers travelling on direct long-haul routes departing from airports in Northern Ireland.
The direct long-haul rate of APD will fall to the lower short-haul rate – currently £12 per passenger in economy and £24 for business and first class passengers.
Continental Flight CO95 from Belfast International to New York/Newark will continue to operate, maintaining Northern Ireland’s vital economic air link to North America, and Northern Ireland will gain a fresh opportunity to develop other long-haul routes to the rest of the world.
Announcing the move, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said:
“The Government has taken proactive measures to protect the only direct long-haul service operating from Northern Ireland and with it the jobs of those who serve the Belfast route.
Northern Ireland faces a unique challenge in attracting traffic – including very valuable business customers – into its airports.
By announcing this immediate cut and our intention to devolve aspects of APD, the UK Government is renewing its commitment to stimulating and rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy.”
Northern Ireland’s airports operate in unique circumstances within the UK. The land border with the Republic of Ireland, with its differential rates of air passenger tax had threatened to make long-haul flights from Belfast uneconomic.
To provide a lasting solution, the Government will launch a parallel process to devolve aspects of APD to the Northern Ireland Assembly, as a recognition of its unique circumstances.
John Doran, managing director, Belfast International Airport said, “This has been a challenging but ultimately rewarding path.
Speaking for Belfast International Airport, we are grateful to everyone who has played a role in finding a resolution to this vexed problem.
While we can allow ourselves a brief period to reflect on this success, this is the point at which we must redouble our efforts to establish our fair share of international air service connectivity into the island of Ireland. On that basis, as a community, we need to get out and sell our product and our story to the British visitor market, the Americans, the Germans, the Canadians, the Dutch and elsewhere.
We need to use the tools that have been provided to capitalize upon the opportunity, garner our resources and make it as easy as possible for visitors and investors to come to Northern Ireland.
Today is an essential first step on that journey.”