Air Passenger Duty (APD) on all long-haul scheduled flights from Northern Ireland will be reduced from £60 to £12 for passengers travelling in economy class, and from £120 to £24 for those in business class.
The change will come into effect on 1st November. APD on short-haul and domestic flights from Northern Ireland, and duty paid by travellers across the rest of Britain, will be unaffected.
The cut in APD was agreed because of a threat by one airline to scrap one service from Belfast to the United Sates. APD contributes to general Government spending and partly offsets the tax advantages enjoyed by the aviation industry, already estimated by the Government at £10 billion a year (see, for example, DfT 2008, Summary of responses to the Government’s consultation on the aviation emissions cost assessment). However, this decision gives all the wrong messages, widening the gap further at a time of increased public spending cuts and when it has yet to set out its aviation strategy.