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Ireland West Airport Knock is strongly opposed to the new Air Travel Tax as currently proposed by the government in its Budget 2009.
Airport Chief Executive Robert Grealis comments: “At a time when we must re-stimulate our economy, create employment and restore consumer confidence, the Airport views this tax as inequitable and retrograde step which will have serious consequences for the tourism industry, business and for the travel industry. In addition, the tax further marginalises regions and runs contrary to the Government’s stated policy on balanced regional development. As an island nation on the very periphery of Europe we rely on air access to support tourism and further develop our knowledge-based economy. Air access is a critical component of our current and future economic sustainability and development which  requires support and investment not additional taxation. 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 entire travel industry is already under intense pressure, will have severe consequences for the industry and the economy as a whole, but particularly in the regions.”
“Ireland West Airport has endeavoured against massive odds to stimulate the economic and tourism wellbeing of the West and North West of Ireland through its investment in new route and air access development and marketing. This Air Travel Tax will place the West and North West regions at a further disadvantage given the inequitable application of the tax across Irish airports. Given that the UK is our single largest tourism and travel market, a tax that increases the costs of travel and doing business with this market will be especially detrimental to our economy. We are also disappointed that the Government did not consult with the industry in its decision making process. We understand that the country faces difficult challenges and Government must make difficult decisions but this new tax targets only one transport segment and places the regions and their airports, whose economies are so dependent on tourism and business travel, at a significant disadvantage. “
We await sight of the detailed proposal for this new tax and 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 the West and North West region in particular.”
Background Information
Summary of Measures 2009, Published by The Dept. of Finance
14th Oct 2008
Air Travel Tax
An air travel tax applying to all departures from Irish airports will come into force on Monday 30 March 2009. The general rate applying will be €10 per passenger with a lower rate of €2 for shorter air journeys (those under 300 kms).
An indicative schedule listing the destinations from particular Irish airports to which the lower rate will apply is set out below. Other destinations from Irish airports in excess of 300kms will attract the €10 rate.
The Finance Bill will provide that the tax will be payable by the appropriate airport authority to the Revenue Commissioners in respect of passengers departing from Irish airports on and from 30 March 2009. In effect the airport authority will collect the tax from the airlines.
The air travel tax will not apply to
- passengers under two years
- disabled passengers and assisting persons
- aircraft with less than 20 passenger seats
- transit passengers
- members of the crew
- air services to and from Irish offshore islands
- aircraft departing airports that in the previous calendar year had less than 10,000 departing passengers.
This measure is estimated to yield €95 million in 2009 and €150 million in a full year.
Destinations to which the lower Air Travel Tax of €2 will apply(a)
From  To
Dublin  Blackpool; Cardiff; Cork; Donegal; Derry; Galway; Glasgow; Glasgow (Prestwick); Isle of Man; Knock; Kerry; Liverpool; Manchester; Shannon; Sligo
Cork  Dublin; Newquay
Kerry  Dublin
Shannon  Dublin
Sligo  Dublin
Donegal  Dublin; Glasgow
Waterford  Galway
Galway  Dublin; Waterford
Knock  Dublin
(a) This list is for illustrative purposes and only includes scheduled air services. Chartered flights will be subject to the air travel tax with the lower rate also applying to destinations no further than 300kms from the departure point.