BIA statement regarding APD report

3 Mar 2015

Belfast International Airport Managing Director Graham Keddie said:

"Belfast International Airport (BIA), is disappointed following the release of NICEP’S Economic Impact Assessment into continued application of UK Air Passenger Duty in Northern Ireland. This report fails to acknowledge the blatant and unique geographic challenge faced by Northern Ireland in UK terms, ironically at a time when both Scotland and Wales are pressing their case to have powers over Air Passenger Duty devolved. The Dublin Government, in keeping with other national Governments across the length and breadth of Europe, has recognised the economic folly of taxing travellers and visitors, and has taken timely steps to remove air tax and radically reduce other taxes on the hospitality sector. Furthermore, Dublin vividly recognises the opportunity which the continued air tax levy in Northern Ireland offers them to grow business directly to Northern Ireland’s economic detriment. Northern Ireland needs direct access from the outside world. If visitors do not touch down on our runways, by definition they spend much less of their overall time in the region. This results in thousands of jobs in the air transport and hospitality sectors being jeopardised or simply not realised. We know there are airlines with available aircraft who will move swiftly to grow our network of direct air services, offering highly attractive fares to encourage international visitors to experience Northern Ireland. However the continued application of APD is the most visible deterrent to securing their commitment and, while APD in Northern Ireland persists, they will choose more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. In that regard Northern Ireland’s failure to transmit an unequivocal “open for business” message today is simply a high profile lost opportunity.”

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