Air Passenger Duty

Oral Answers to Questions — Enterprise, Trade and Investment – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 9th February 2016.

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Photo of Paul Girvan Paul Girvan DUP 3:30 pm, 9th February 2016

T7. Mr Girvan asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, in light of Belfast International Airport’s recent job announcements, what measures he has taken to ensure that this region gets some help with air passenger duty (APD), given that we are competing with Dublin — 100 miles down the road — which offers 0% APD, and the Scottish islands, which have had some flexibility, albeit that we are tied to the UK system, has he lobbied for the abolition of APD. (AQT 3477/11-16)

Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party

Minister, can you answer that in a few seconds?

Photo of Jonathan Bell Jonathan Bell DUP

Yes. First, I congratulate Graham Keddie and his marvellous team for the success that they have had, not just in job creation but in increased passenger numbers. I believe that the UK as a whole should address air passenger duty, and we lobbied very strongly for that to happen. That does not take away from the fact that it should happen on a UK-wide basis to drive tourism in Northern Ireland. I will continue to work with all our airports; I have been to City of Derry Airport and I have seen the success of Belfast City Airport in increased passenger numbers and the boost to the economy. There is a really good news story in the Member's constituency, and I will look at every avenue that I have, not just in lobbying the UK on air passenger duty but seeing what we can do around air route development funds and marketing strategies that could lead to continued further success.

Photo of Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Sinn Féin

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Is it in order, despite our many differences, to commend the Minister on the Alert Logic job investment in Belfast yesterday, which, incredibly, he did not mention? I think that the House should congratulate him on that.

Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party

I am sure that that is not a point of order, but the Minister will have heard it.

Photo of Jonathan Bell Jonathan Bell DUP

Thank you very much. Unfortunately, I could not announce it myself because I was on other business that, I hope, in the long term, will deliver for the economy of Northern Ireland.

Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party

I invite Members to take their ease while we change the top Table.

(Mr Deputy Speaker [Mr Beggs] in the Chair)