Economic report rules out abolition of APD in Northern Ireland

By Phil Davies | 04 March 2015 at 10.08 GMT
Abolishing £13 Air Passenger Duty on the majority of flights out of Northern Ireland would prove too costly to the Northern Ireland Executive, according to an economic report.

Removing APD would mean a reduction of at least £55 million in Northern Ireland’s block grant from Westminster.

This would cover the loss to the Treasury of revenue it collects from APD on flights locally.

“A strong case for change has not been made,” the report’s authors state.

Northern Ireland has already scrapped APD on long-haul flights – a move which saved a service to New York and has cost more than £2 million.

The report by the Northern Ireland Centre for Economic Policy said the benefits of abolishing APD on all other flights would not cover the figure lost to the block grant.

The loss is “a very significant impact on the economic cost-benefit outcome,” the 67-page report said.

Ireland scrapped its air tax last year which has helped Dublin airport attract new routes.

Scotland is also likely to get power over APD as part of devolution plans.

Northern Ireland is looking into financial help for airlines to operate new routes to destinations such as Canada, Turkey and Germany. Aid would cover 50% of landing charges

Belfast international airport managing director Graham Keddie told the BBC: “We know there are airlines with available aircraft who will move swiftly to grow our network of direct air services, offering highly attractive fares to encourage international visitors to experience Northern Ireland.

“However, the continued application of APD is the most visible deterrent to securing their commitment and, while APD in Northern Ireland persists, they will choose more lucrative

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Make Dublin your transatlantic hub, British passengers told

Aer+Lingus+Regional+2+(1)Press release by Dublin Airport

Dublin Airport and Aer Lingus have joined forces on a major marketing push to promote flying from Britain to North America via Dublin Airport.

The two companies will host roadshows in nine British cities over the next two months to showcase the excellent connectivity offered by Aer Lingus and Dublin Airport and the ease of transferring through Dublin.

“Dublin Airport has been growing significantly as a transfer hub for passengers from Britain and continental Europe over the past three years,” said Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison. “Last year, a record 750,000 passengers used Dublin as a hub, which was a 34% increase on the previous year and we looking forward to welcoming even more transfer passengers in 2015.”

Aer Lingus currently offers connecting services from 19 British airports to its transatlantic network at Dublin Airport and will operate seven North American destinations from Dublin this summer.

“Aer Lingus is the fastest growing European airline on transatlantic routes, having grown its business by over 20% to 1.3 million customers over the past year,” said Aer Lingus Chief Revenue Officer Mike Rutter. “We offer a seamless product that we know saves time and money, and truly is the best choice for travelling to the USA from Britain.”

Last year, Aer Lingus launched new services from Dublin to San Francisco and Toronto and from May this year, a new four times weekly service will commence to Washington DC. The San Francisco service will operate daily from April and Aer Lingus will also have three daily departures to New York during the peak summer this year. “Customers can choose from more than 100 onward connections across the USA and Canada with partner airlines, allowing for seamless transfer options, making Aer Lingus the smart choice for UK consumers,” Mr Rutter added.

Dublin Airport and Aer Lingus will hold events in cities such as Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham and Cardiff showcasing the Aer Lingus transatlantic product and explaining the ease and convenience of connecting in Dublin. They will also jointly attend a trade show in London to target the British travel trade sector. The first event will be held in Bristol on Wednesday, February 4.

“Using Dublin to connect is a faster, more efficient and more pleasant option than connecting via a continental European airport or travelling by road or rail to a larger British airport,” Mr Harrison said.

“Flying with Aer Lingus to North America via Dublin, saves money, saves time and saves stress versus London,” according to Mr Rutter. “Aer Lingus customers can enjoy the best in smart travel with access to wifi and mobile data on board and for the business traveller, we’ll have a new business class experience launching in the spring with full lie-flat seating.”

Passengers enjoy the ease of connecting at Dublin Airport, as it offers a smooth transfer product, excellent connections to Britain and North America, and the ability to pre-clear US customs and immigration in Dublin prior to departure on flights to the US.

“Dublin Airport is the only major airport in Europe to offer US preclearance, which enables passengers to save time on arrival in the US by completing all the necessary immigration and customs checks prior to departure,” Mr Harrison said. “The only queue a pre-cleared passenger meeting on arrival in the US is the taxi queue to their final destination.”

To make the transfer experience even easier, Dublin Airport offers passengers free unlimited wifi and a free DUB HUB mobile service powered by Google, to guide you seamlessly to your gate. Simply enter your flight number on the DUB HUB homepage and you’ll be guided to your gate and obtain all the necessary information on your flight.

“Transferring at Dublin is a great product which British passengers are experiencing in growing numbers,” according to Mr Harrison. “These events will bring that message to a wider audience and we’re delighted to be working with Aer Lingus to promote Dublin as a transatlantic hub in the British market.”

Business traveller numbers double in last two years

Business travel

The number of people making business travel trips has doubled in the last two years despite only a marginal growth in the overall number of business trips taken.

The Amadeus Business Travel Insights: Business travel gets personalreport has revealed that the number of individuals taking one or more business trips rose from 4% to 8% between 2011 and 2013.

However, the actual number of overall business travel trips only grew from 12.7 in 2012 to 13.1 last year.

Senior staff also held the lion’s share of business trips, with more than 80% of directors and managing directors making 10 or more trips in the last 12 months.

The Amadeus report, which was compiled following a survey of 400 UK and Ireland adults working in large companies and regularly making business trips in December 2013, adds personalisation and efficiency are key to the current market.

“We are delighted to see the growing optimism in economic outlook translating into an increase in travel as indicated by our survey, especially given the pivotal role it plays in both employee and customer satisfaction.”

Diane Bouzebiba

A total of 21% of respondents said a hotel’s proximity to their meeting is the top priority when travelling, while 18% cited the need to connect to Wi-fi as their top travel need.

A further 10% of women said they could not do without extra luggage allowances.

An equal 10% said reduced travel has a negative effect on customer satisfaction while 96% of those surveyed said they liked business trips, backed by 55% who find them interesting.

Amadeus, UK and Ireland, managing director Diane Bouzebiba said: “We are delighted to see the growing optimism in economic outlook translating into an increase in travel as indicated by our survey, especially given the pivotal role it plays in both employee and customer satisfaction.

“The findings shine a spotlight on the variation in traveller requirements, enabled by the proliferation of online and mobile travel management tools, variation of travel choices on offer.

“We believe that travel managers and TMCs who aim to deliver a more personalised and connected travel experience will be rewarded with greater policy compliance and efficiency gains as a result”.

Sourced from TTG Digital

Call for UK to emulate Ireland on APD

Call for UK to emulate Ireland on APDBy Phil Davies

BMI Regional has said Westminster should follow Dublin in reassessing air tax on passengers, following the Irish government’s decision to drop its version of Air Passenger Duty from next April.Industry lobby group A Fair Tax on Flying made a similar plea following the move in Ireland.

The Irish transport, tourism and sport minister Leo Varadkar believes the cut will “support existing jobs and invest in further job creation”.

BMI Regional chief commercial officer Steve Hoy said: “This tax break highlights that the Irish constituency has recognised the negative impact that the duty has on core industry, tourism and airlines.

“We’re disappointed that UK air travel continues to be subjected to such a considerable levy and urge the UK government to follow suit.”

He added: “There is no doubt that air travel is an essential part of doing business within the UK and overseas and for some regions within the UK, air links represent the only efficient means of travel. APD therefore is a further tax on doing business.”

“The anomaly whereby customers on a domestic round trip pay the tax twice is ironic in that it penalises those doing business or travelling between two regions of the UK. We would like to see the government reassess the current system of taxation.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


About this Gathering

Thousands of people from home and overseas are expected to gather by the quays along the River Liffey, on Sunday, 15th September, to experience the Irish Aviation Authority’s (IAA) and Dublin City Council’s (DCC) FlightFest, a once-in- a-lifetime, international aviation flypast.
Over 30 aircraft will fly through the city of Dublin as part of the Gathering Ireland 2013. They will set off from Dublin Airport, into Dublin Port and up along the River Liffey, as far as the Customs House. The sustained flypast through Dublin city centre will take two hours to complete and the flights will be sequenced at five minutes intervals.
FlightFest will be a free family event. A large section of the quays will be pedestrianised, with many family attractions and festivities available, contributing to a carnival atmosphere that will showcase Irish aviation. FlightFest
Large commercial aircraft from Ireland and abroad will fly past, including the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320, A321, A300, A330 and A340 aircraft . The Irish Air Corps and the Royal Air Force will also participate and spectators will enjoy a variety of helicopters and vintage aircraft including the World War II Spitfire and the B-17 Flying Fortress.
The FlightFest fly past will take place on the afternoon of Sunday, 15th September 2013. The aircraft will be seen from most parts of the city centre. However the best vantage points will be along the River Liffey from Dublin Port right up to the Customs House. FlightFest Windermere
The aircraft confirmed at present include: B-17 Flying Fortress; Pilatus PC9; Learjet; Casa; Gulfstream; Cessna; ML407 Grace Spitfire; RJ85; Sikorsky S92 and S61 and AW139 helicopters; C130 Hercules; Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, A321, A300, A330 and A340. Owners of more aircraft are expected to confirm their participation in the coming weeks
Sourced from thegatheringireland

Norwegian Air Studies Ireland to Establish Budget Long-Haul Base

By Kari Lundgren

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (NAS), western Europe’s fourth-largest discount airline, may apply for a permanent Irish air operator’s certificate as it seeks to establish a low-cost base for its long-haul division.

“We’re having discussions and talks with Irish authorities to get a permanent air operator’s certificate,” Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen, a spokesman for the Fornebu, Norway-based airline said by telephone. “It suits our operations better.”

Norwegian last year ordered 222 Boeing Co. (BA:US) and Airbus SAS airliners valued at 127 billion kroner ($21.5 billion) and will begin flying its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner on long-haul routes from August 15. The second of eight Dreamliners will arrive later this month, Sandaker-Nielsen said. Both jets have temporary Irish registration, meaning the carrier can employ non-European Union-based pilots, making it possible to recruit crew members from places like Thailand, he said.

Only long-haul jets are being considered for registration outside of Norway, Sandaker-Nielsen said. The airline considered applying in other European countries including Sweden before settling on Ireland, he said.

Norwegian, founded in 1993, switched to a discount model in 2001, emulating Ryanair Holdings Plc (RYA) and EasyJet Plc. (EZJ) It is western Europe’s fourth-largest low-cost airline, after Ryanair, EasyJet and Air Berlin Plc. (AB1)

To contact the reporter on this story: Kari Lundgren in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at

Rugby World Cup 2015 will boost passenger numbers at Cardiff Airport

The confirmation that eight Rugby World Cup 2015 fixtures will be held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff will have a positive impact on passenger numbers at Cardiff Airport according to the Wales Air Forum.

Ireland will play two matches at the Millennium Stadium with the first being against a yet to be confirmed Americas 1 team on 19th Sep 2015.  On the October 11th 2015 Ireland will face France and both national teams are known to attract a large following.  With two Quarter Finals also being played at the Millennium Stadium there are further opportunities for Cardiff Airport to attract more passengers depending on fixtures.

Cardiff Airport are no strangers to dealing with large sporting events that attract a significant increase in passenger movements.  Annually the RBS Six Nations competition attracts thousands of additional passengers through the doors of the airport over the course of the competition.  In 2010 the Celtic Manor, Newport was the host of the prestigious Ryder Cup tournament.  In 2011 the Millennium Stadium was host to the final of the Heineken Cup Final.

The number of sporting charters at Cardiff Airport is already expected to rise due to the promotion of Cardiff City FC to the Premier League joining Swansea City FC next season.

In 2014 the Cardiff City Stadium will host the 2014 UEFA Super Cup Final which will be contested by the reigning champions of the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League.