Main content
22nd June 2011

Consumer Council welcomes opportunity to present evidence to Northern Ireland Affairs Committee inqu

The Consumer Council brought the voice of consumers to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (NIAC) in Westminster today

Presenting evidence to the Committee, Antoinette McKeown, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council said:  “Air Passenger Duty (APD) penalises consumers here more than passengers elsewhere in the UK.  APD needs to be reduced or removed to reflect the policy of the Dublin Government.  Of the four other countries that charge a duty on APD, the Republic of Ireland has the lowest whilst the UK charges the highest.

Most of the passenger journeys to and from Northern Ireland (98.5 per cent) are Domestic or European.  Therefore, a family of four travelling from Belfast to London on a return journey will have to pay £96 in APD compared to only €12 for the same journey from Dublin.  If the proposed increases come in to force this could increase to £128 in APD. 

Continuing Antoinette McKeown said: APD is taxing Northern Ireland consumers out of the air when we have little or no alternative choices given our peripheral location in the most westerly corner of Europe.

Now NIAC members will discuss the impact on NI consumers in relation to choice, affordability and a fair deal for NI passengers.  The Consumer Council’s evidence ensured that consumer detriment  here was fully understood by the committee and given its rightful place in this important inquiry.  The Consumer Council will continue to ensure that the voices of consumers here are at the heart of APD decisions.


Notes to Editors

The government in the Republic of Ireland has outlined plans to abolish Air Travel Tax (ATT), which already stands much lower at €3 compared to rates in NI which start at £12 and increase to £85 depending on the distance travelled.

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 because both the outbound and return flights depart from UK airports.

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: Pauline Gordon, telephone, 028 9067 4807 or 07909972704 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