Page last updated at 13:19 GMT, Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Final stage: Air Passenger Duty Bill

A bill to remove the Air Passenger Duty (APD) on direct long-haul flights passed its final stage, on 6 November 2012.

Last November, APD rates were cut to £12 per passenger in economy and £24 for business and first-class passengers for direct long-haul routes from Northern Ireland airports.

The Air Passenger Duty Bill will now remove the tax from direct long-haul flights altogether from 1 January 2013.

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson said he was aware some members would have preferred more time to discuss the bill, but he said accelerated passage through the assembly was necessary.

Mr Wilson explained this was because the bill needed to be in place for the beginning of 2013 to ensure no flight routes were lost.

The minister said it would have cost £90m to devolve APD on all flights and the Executive had chosen to look at only long-haul flights as it had wanted to get the matter resolved quickly.

Finance committee chairman Daithi McKay said the change would affect only 1.5% of flights from Northern Ireland but it was important for retaining economically viable flights and for creating the potential for new routes.

He said that before the bill was introduced airlines had to absorb the APD costs, which was "unsustainable".

Northern Ireland's only direct long-haul flight to the United States, the Belfast - Newark route, had been threatened by APD.

The final stage was passed on an oral vote.

The Superannuation Bill also passed its further consideration stage.

SEE ALSO

Story Tools

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific