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Belfast International Airport welcomed the introduction of the zero APD rate on long-haul routes which came into effect at midnight, which was abolished on 6th November in Air Passenger Duty Bill (Bands B, C and D) by the Northern Ireland Assembly ,enabling Belfast International to be competitive versus airports in the Republic of Ireland for new long-haul opportunities, where the Air Travel Tax is €3 per passenger.

The reduction of the tax to zero follows through on the Northern Ireland Executive’s policy commitment as laid out in the 2011-15 Programme for Government.

Belfast International Airport Managing Director John Doran said “Today marks a new beginning. At least on long-haul, Northern Ireland can now compete more effectively with the Republic of Ireland.

It is the removal of one impediment in our drive to attract new operators to the market, but it shouldn’t be viewed as some sort of ‘silver bullet’ that will lead to a rapid expansion of long-haul services.

It is one very important component in the offer we make to international carriers, without it, we wouldn’t feature on their radar. At least now we can get into Boardrooms to make our pitch.

There are real prospects out there, but this has got to be a joint effort by Northern Ireland plc.

The disappearance of Long Haul APD today from Northern Ireland opens new opportunities, and is clearly a step in the right direction. Now, we must capitalize on it and move with some speed to put together a practical, well resourced package to take to the market. In that respect, we look forward to working closely with Ministers to see that Northern Ireland fully exploits this very welcome development “.

Irish Aviation Research Institute © 1st January 2013 All Rights Reserved.