Tuesday, September 26, 2017
   
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Air Passenger Duty Could be Axed in DUP Deal

The shock General Election result a fortnight ago, which has pushed the Government into negotiating a deal with the 10 Northern Ireland DUP MPs, has raised hopes that the abolition of APD (Air Passenger Duty) could be part of the price for a political deal.

According to reports, APD is on the DUP wish list - along with investment in health and infrastructure - but there is known to be strong opposition to the move from the Treasury.

The Province's airlines and three airports are watching the situation with more than a passing interest. In fact Belfast International airport has given its backing to efforts to persuade the Government to modify or scrap Air Passenger Duty (APD).

Following reports that the DUP had APD on its agenda in talks with the Conservative Party, the airport said the removal of ‘this backward tax’ would have a profoundly positive effect on the Northern Ireland economy.

Graham Keddie, Managing Director, Belfast International Airport, said: “APD is restricting growth, choking economic development and holding back Northern Ireland tourism potential.

“I’m delighted the DUP realises the harm that the tax is doing, and is working to persuade the Government to do what’s right. Mrs Foster and her negotiating team have our wholehearted backing, and my hope must be that they are successful.

“A reduced APD would help us compete more effectively with the Republic of Ireland. Airlines would add very significant additional capacity into the market and more than 1,000 new jobs would be created.

“APD is putting a brake on further substantial investment by airlines but if the tax was cut or, ideally, axed, we’d see a massive increase in passenger numbers. That, in turn, would push us up the rankings where new airline and route possibilities would be opened up not only for Northern Ireland passengers, but passengers from the entire northern half of the island of Ireland.

p>“We await developments in London with keen interest.”

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