30/11/2012

MPs Call To Scrap Air Passenger Duty

MPs are calling for the £13 air passenger duty on Northern Ireland flights to be scrapped.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has claimed the tax on short haul flights is a major stumbling block to rebuilding the NI economy.

The Committee is attempting to persuade the Executive and the Treasury to reduce or abolish the tax.

Short haul flights make up 98% of all air travel to and from Northern Ireland.

Laurence Robertson MP, chair of the committee, said: "For the people of Northern Ireland air travel is not a luxury, it is fundamental to family and economic life.

"To help rebalance the Northern Ireland economy, it is vital that air links to Great Britain, mainland Europe and the rest of the world are robust.

"That means making sure key routes and landing slots are protected, and that people who have no real alternatives to flying, for business or their family life, are not unfairly penalised by the taxes imposed on air travel."

The Assembly passed the final stage of the Air Passenger Duty Bill at the beginning of November, cutting the tax on long-haul flights out of Northern Ireland.

The NI affairs committee has also called for the introduction of a shared visit visa for the Republic of Ireland and the UK.

It said the current cost of two visas deters business and leisure travellers from visiting both jurisdictions on a single visit.

(IT)

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