This week I highlighted the continued unfairness faced by air passengers in Northern Ireland, as the Republic scraps air travel tax from Irish airports.
Passengers travelling from northern airports must pay a £13 departure tax, whilst from 1st April flights from the likes of Dublin will see no such tax. The UK air passenger duty applies per flight, meaning that those getting connecting flights from Belfast via Britain will have to pay twice.
“The Irish Government has finally scrapped air travel tax and that will continue to underpin the tourism sector there.
“It is imperative the UK Government introduce equivalent policies in Northern Ireland to ensure that the tourism industry remains economically competitive.
“The Secretary of State must recognise that Northern Ireland is in a unique position and if it is to compete with its southern neighbours it must be on a level playing field.
“However, passengers travelling from Northern Ireland airports continue to pay Air Passenger Duty, with no respite coming from the recent UK budget. If someone from here wishes to take a flight to say, Gatwick, for an onward connection to Europe they pay the departure tax on both flights; this is unfair.
“I have consistently raised this at Westminster. Given the Irish Government has now scrapped the tax entirely it underpins the extra costs faced by those choosing local airports for business or leisure flights”.