Five of Ireland’s regional airports have issued a joint letter to the Finance Minister, Mr Brian Lenihan TD, requesting an urgent review and amendments to several measures contained in the proposed new air travel tax.
Ireland West Knock, Donegal, Galway, Sligo and Waterford airports are strongly opposed to the proposed new tax as outlined in the recent budget announcement. The group views this tax as inequitable and a retrograde step which will have serious consequences for the tourism and aviation industries as a whole, as well as for businesses reliant on air travel from regional airports to sustain and develop their businesses and the local economy.
The regional airports state that the tax further marginalises regions and runs contrary to the Government’s stated policy on balanced regional development. It provides positive discrimination to Dublin Airport and as such is anti-competitive by effectively incentivising passengers to use it in preference to regional airports when travelling to and from some key destinations in the UK. It also seeks to make airports the collector of taxes, a system which is unworkable and outside the remit of airports. The regional airports jointly request that these two measures in particular are removed from the proposed new air travel tax prior to its enactment in legislation.
The regional airports also call on Government to review its proposed implementation of this tax. This proposed air tax will only serve to place the country, especially its regions, at a significant disadvantage when competing in the global marketplace for business and tourism. The introduction of this proposed tax, at a time when the aviation industry is already in the midst of a severe economic downturn globally, will have very detrimental consequences for the industry and the economy as a whole, but particularly in the regions. The group calls upon the Government to withdraw this tax.
The regional airports group will work positively with all stakeholders to find an equitable solution that is in the best interest of the Irish economy as a whole and for Ireland’s regions in particular.