Northern Ireland Assembly to scrap Air Passenger Duty on direct long haul flights

Can a government agency live without Air Passenger Duty?

It seems one agency can in Northern Ireland – with the elected Northern Irish Assembly at Stormont voting to scrap Air Passenger Duty on Direct Long Haul flights from January 2013.

Finance minster Sammy Wilson says:

“Direct air links facilitate local firms in doing business with customers outside the region,” he said.

“They are also vital for the local tourism industry and in attracting foreign direct investment to Northern Ireland, both key to growing and rebalancing our economy.

“Abolishing air passenger duty on long haul flights will help to protect and improve our international air access and ensure the competitiveness of our airports.”

Whilst Long Haul APD has been scrapped on direct flights from Northern Ireland, flights which have a connection from another UK source will still be subject to longhaul APD. Shorthaul APD remains in-situ.

The removal of APD now offers a challenge to Dublin and Ireland who charge €3 in Air Travel Tax to any destination – compared to some of the mad charges if you decide to ordinate a flight from London or other destination on the UK mainland.

Currently, the only long haul service operating is the United (ex Continental) between Belfast International and Newark International Airport.

If United decide to pass on the price cut of APD to the consumer… well, I’ll be surprised if fares suddenly change overnight to reflect this policy change.

Find out what I thought of the inbound service (as well as the bus fares to Belfast City Centre) in Narrow Minds and Narrow Bodies – to Denver.

But before you go further, I ask that you please visit my Hurricane Sandy Fund-raising page where Boarding Area Bloggers are trying to raise a donation of $1800… powered by your comments where we donate $1 per comment up to $1800 between the 5 blogs taking part.

We’ve got 18 hours or so before this closes and I want to donate more. A lot more.

Comment in that post – and PLEASE HELP ME TO HELP US ALL DO SOME GOOD!