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Executive 'is bottling it' over air travel tax

By Michael McHugh

Published 14/01/2016

Graham Keddie, managing director of Belfast International Airport with Claire Kelly from Passion Preserved at the airport's artisan food market
Graham Keddie, managing director of Belfast International Airport with Claire Kelly from Passion Preserved at the airport's artisan food market

The Executive has "bottled it" on cutting air passenger tax because of the impact on the public finances, the managing director of Belfast International Airport has claimed.

Northern Ireland risks missing the boat as airlines receiving new aircraft plan routes for next year, Graham Keddie said.

He said ministers could pick up the bill for air passenger duty (APD) to compete with Dublin's tax free status, which has prompted enormous growth south of the border based on low fares.

Mr Keddie claimed: "We are pointing business across to a foreign country.

"Our devolved central government is abdicating responsibility to deal with this."

He said worry about the block grant impeded any real development. He said: "The Northern Ireland Executive are, to put it in colloquial terms, bottling it."

Cuts to APD in Northern Ireland separately from the rest of the UK would see Treasury reducing the amount it provides Stormont to run public services.

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