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21st March 2011

Consumer Council urges UK Government to reduce Air Passenger Duty

The Consumer Council has called on the UK Government to reduce Air Passenger Duty (APD) for flights departing from Northern Ireland (NI). The Consumer Council is concerned that the difference between APD and the Republic of Ireland Air Travel Tax (ATT) is undermining the Northern Ireland aviation sector. Currently, Air Travel Tax (ATT) from the Republic of Ireland is €3 to all destinations, whereas in the UK APD ranges from £12 to £85 depending on the distance of the flight.

Andy McClenaghan, Senior Consumer Affairs Officer at the Consumer Council said: “‘NI passengers are significantly more dependant on air travel than their counterparts in GB and high levels of APD can disadvantage consumers in NI.  Republic of Ireland ATT is currently charged at €3 for all flights and the Coalition Government in the Republic of Ireland has outlined plans to abolish ATT altogether.

The Consumer Council is concerned that this situation may lead to decreased demand for flights from NI and further damage the long term viability of airlines operating to and from NI.  With the Budget being announced on Wednesday, the UK Government has an opportunity to reduce APD and protect the interests of NI consumers.”

Notes to Editors

APD is levied on journeys where the initial flight departs from a UK airport and the charge is based on the final destination of the flight. For example, a passenger travelling return from Belfast City to Heathrow will be charged £24, i.e. £12 per leg.

The current rates of APD are shown below:

APD BandEconomy ClassBusiness/First classRepublicof IrelandATT

A (0 – 2000 miles)

e.g. flights to UK and Europe


B (2001 – 4000 miles)

e.g. flights to USA


C (4001 – 6000 miles)

e.g. flights to Thailand


D (over 6000 miles)

e.g. flights to Australia





  1. Consumer Council media contact: Irene Overend, telephone, 028 9067 4816 or 07825147496 or e-mail,  
  2. The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about buses, trains, planes, ferries, natural gas, electricity, coal and water.
  3. For more information, visit our website at