Long made vice-chair of All-Party Group

Alliance East Belfast MP Naomi Long has been elected vice-chair of a new All Party Group in Westminster focused on regional airports and flights.

Mrs Long said the role with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Regional Aviation would hopefully allow her to pursue further long-standing work she has done regarding the potential for reforming APD, as well as seeking ways to support new routes in and out of Northern Ireland.

The group is designed to raise awareness of, promote and protect the interests of regional airports, airlines and passengers.

Alliance MP Mrs Long said the group would seek to make Parliament more aware of regional aviation’s contribution to the UK economy and transport connectivity.

“In Northern Ireland this is a particular issue, as there are no realistic alternatives to air travel, especially for business travel. If business costs are to be reduced, connectivity established and tourism grown here, the issues around regional aviation need to be tackled.

“One such issue is APD and part of the remit of this group is to look at its impact on regional airports and connectivity. The fact is, our airports are already at a distinct disadvantage when compared with others due to pricing levels and a restricted number of through-carriers operating out of Northern Ireland, so reducing or removing APD would be key to helping the sector as a whole.

“Wider issues such as connectivity through the south east, the development of regional hub airports and the links between aviation and the wider economy will also be considered in our work. It presents a new opportunity to build cross-party consensus on issues which impact heavily on Northern Ireland.”


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