East Belfast Alliance MP Naomi Long has hailed Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement that Air Passenger Duty will be cut for direct long-haul routes from Northern Ireland airports. The move helps safeguard the future of the Continental Airlines route between Belfast and New York.
Naomi Long MP said: “This is a very positive day for business in Northern Ireland. This is brilliant news and comes after much hard work from MPs and MLAs here. The Continental Airlines flight is our one direct link to North America and it is an absolutely pivotal route.
“I have been trying to impress upon the Chancellor the need for urgent action and I am extremely pleased that he recognised that swift movement on this was vital. This decision is an important statement about the Northern Ireland economy and will send out a strong message to the world that we an excellent destination for investment and tourism.
“Infrastructure is one of the key influencing factors for companies when it comes to the decisions they make regarding investment, and this flight is one of the most important transport links that Northern Ireland has. This move by the Chancellor will allow us not just to retain this route, but could also enable us to build further air links from here in the future.”
Alliance Finance Spokesperson Judith Cochrane MLA said: “This is excellent news for Northern Ireland. The route is crucial to the region and to our efforts to grow our economy.
“We have very strong business links with North America and this route has played a central role in building, maintaining and strengthening these extremely important links.”