Belfast International airport says the report by the Westminster Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on Air Passenger Duty (APR) and VAT on tourism gives the campaign to do away with the passenger tax a significant boost.
The Committee called on the Northern Ireland Executive to re-examine the economic case for abolishing APD on flights and seek the full devolution of the power.
Reacting, Belfast International Airport Managing Director, Graham Keddie, said: “This report is timely and comprehensive and deserves to be taken seriously.
“MPs on the Committee have agreed with us that APD makes it increasingly difficult to attract new carriers and open new routes. They also acknowledge how APD and VAT place Northern Ireland Airports at a significant competitive disadvantage to Dublin Airport.
“I’m particularly pleased with the finding that removing APD would be an economic game-changer. There is a cost involved, but we have argued successfully that the benefits of devolving the tax and then getting rid of it would be offset by the gains.
“This important report is now in the in-tray of the new Northern Ireland Executive, whenever it’s formed, and we would encourage the new Ministerial team to grasp the nettle of APD.
“We need a level playing pitch with the Republic of Ireland and sweeping away this passenger tax that weighs more heavily on Northern Ireland than any other region of the UK would be a most welcome development.
“We’re losing too many passengers to Dublin Airport and although we’ve achieved substantial growth, much more is achievable if APD was jettisoned and VAT rates on tourism reduced to competitive levels.”