Dickson anger at air travel duty hike saying it could hit NI airports hard

East Antrim Alliance Assembly Candidate Stewart Dickson has expressed fears that the newly-introduced Air Passenger Duty could make people who travel from Northern Ireland airports want to use airports in the Republic of Ireland instead. The first of two increases in air passenger transport duty took effect here at the start of November. He also expressed anger at news yesterday that passengers at Heathrow coming to or from Northern Ireland could have to pay over 66% more in airport charges.

Cllr Stewart Dickson said: “While I see the need to have an environmental tax on air travel, I am deeply worried that air passenger duty will have a seriously detrimental impact on airports in Northern Ireland. This unfair charge could drive people away from using our airports here, and they might instead use airports in the Republic of Ireland. This could have an absolutely catastrophic effect on our airports.

“This duty is not even a proper environmental tax. It is simply a blunt instrument which does not penalise airlines for the real problem of empty or half empty planes flying around the world.

“I am angry about this charge as it could seriously undermine Northern Ireland as a business and holiday destination. People look forward to their holidays and save hard for them, and this duty has the potential to add several hundred pounds to a family’s holiday expenses. I am also very angry at Heathrow’s proposals which could increase charges to passengers to and from Northern Ireland by over 66%. They appear to favour long-haul flights over domestic ones.”


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