Belfast International Airport will set out ‘the strongest possible case’ for the removal of Air Passenger Duty (APD) in its formal submission to a Government consultation that was announced today.
The airport says APD is an economic impediment that is denying Northern Ireland the opportunity to expand its network of destinations and create thousands of new aviation, tourism and hospitality sector jobs.
Reacting to the consultation announcement, Belfast International Airport Managing Director, Graham Keddie, said: “We now have a golden opportunity to convince the Government of the uniquely challenging burden which the continued application of Air Passenger Duty creates in Northern Ireland.
“This tax makes us less able to compete on a level playing field with the Republic of Ireland where passenger tax was very deliberately consigned to the bin to reap dividends from the continued application of this onerous tax ‘up the road’ in Northern Ireland.
“We say with confidence that the millions that would flow into HM Treasury coffers as a result of increased personal taxation from thousands of additional new jobs would easily surpass the sum raised by APD.
“Airlines have already told us that if the Government removed the burden of APD, they would invest massively in Northern Ireland with more based aircraft and a plethora of new mainland European destinations.
“The transformation for our entire tourism sector and its positive impact on the local economy would be immense, which is why we will be making the strongest possible case for the removal of this retrograde tax.
“As well as making our submission, we will be intensifying our engagement with politicians at both local and national level to enlist the broadest possible support for our position. We are heading for a record-breaking year at Belfast International Airport, but much more could be delivered if we were successful in equalising our air tax status with that in the Republic of Ireland.”