Belfast International Airport has warmly welcomed support for an early review of Air Passenger Duty (APD) from the new Finance Minister, Mairtin O’Muilleoir.
The Minister met with airport Managing Director, Graham Keddie, and afterwards, in a statement, said it was his view that the Executive should have full control of APD ‘so that we can make decisions in the interest of our community in terms of tourism, business and job creation’.
Responding, Mr Keddie, said the support from the Finance Minister was hugely encouraging and important.
Mr Keddie said: “APD is a barrier to growth. The Republic of Ireland has done away with the tax, and Scotland wants to do the same, but there was, until now, a reluctance at Stormont to grasp the nettle.
“I fully support an early review of APD and the damage it is causing this economy. There have been wild estimates as to what it would cost the Executive, but little by way of the very tangible benefits that would flow from reducing the rate or doing away with it altogether.
“Zero-rate tax in the Republic of Ireland hands Dublin a great advantage over our airports in Northern Ireland. Even though we are seeing impressive passenger growth, much, much more could be achieved if APD didn’t exist.
“It is not fanciful to say that thousands of new jobs would be created if APD was consigned to history.
“The Minister’s intervention gives us renewed hope. If other Ministers buy into his clear-sighted view, then we might just see movement in the right direction.”