Why it's now cheaper to fly to New York from Northern Ireland

Rebecca Rutt
by Lovemoney Staff Rebecca Rutt on 09 January 2013  |  Comments 5 comments

The Northern Ireland Assembly has scrapped a passenger tax on long haul flights from the province.

Why it's now cheaper to fly to New York from Northern Ireland

Flying directly from Belfast to New York is now cheaper, after Air Passenger Duty (APD) on long haul flights was scrapped by the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Previously, passengers travelling this route were required to pay an additional £60 for an economy class ticket and £120 for business class. These charges were lowered to £12 and £24 respectively in November but have now been scrapped altogether.

Right now the only route affected is between Belfast and New York, but if more are introduced they too will be exempt from the tax.

Cheaper flights to New York

The decision to scrap APD on long haul flights has been made to both boost the local economy and keep the New York fights operating out of Belfast.

Before, instead of travelling Belfast-New York or vice versa, most people would fly to Dublin, where the Irish equivalent of APD is just €3. Continental Airline, which runs the Belfast flights, threatened to switch to Dublin as it said the route was costing it too much as it was absorbing the cost of the APD.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee recommended that APD be banned on all long haul flights out of Belfast. The Assembly, which since devolution has the power to rule on long haul APD, duly scrapped it.

Mark Tanzer, CEO of travel association ABTA, wants more action on the tax: “APD remains a major issue for Northern Ireland businesses who have to compete directly with departures from across the border as well as unfairly penalising people in Northern Ireland who may need air travel to visit families.

"We recognize the pressures on HM Treasury but APD is not the answer to reducing the deficit and we strongly encourage the Government to urgently commission a review into the economic impacts this tax is having on the whole of the UK.”

APD in the rest of the UK

APD is a tax levied on flights from UK airports. Passengers pay this for each flight they take. The price of the tax depends on the length of the journey and the class of the ticket bought.

But in the UK we have one of the highest rates of APD in the world and many companies, such as ABTA, are calling for it to be reduced.

However, it looks unlikely anything more will happen soon as in the Autumn Statement George Osborne announced a rise of 2.5% in APD which will come into force on 1st April next year.

Do you think the Government should be reducing APD across the UK? Let me know in the comment box below.

Note: an earlier version of this article erroneously claimed that the abolition of long haul APD in Northern Ireland meant that flights from Belfast to New York were cheaper than from any other UK airport. We accept that this is not exclusively the case and we apologise for any confusion caused.

More on travel

Free bus travel in January for unemployed people

The best and worst hotels in the UK

The world’s most prosperous countries

Train delays and cancellations: how to claim refunds and compensation

Where your holiday pound could be worth more in 2012

Five reasons your travel insurance won't pay out

Enjoyed this? Show it some love

Twitter
General

Comments (5)

  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    APD should be scrapped or at least made reclaimable for business travellers. This country needs to keep growing in manufacturing and exports and for anyone trying to visit overseas customers and trade shows, APD is just another unfair burden. Those whining on about carbon footprints and business travel are just naive and jealous because air travel is essential for business. Abuse by a small minority for business funded 'jollies' should not cloud the whole issue. Genuine business travel inside Europe should be subsidised, let alone taxed. I'm happy to take my holidays close to home and I don't regard ten hour flights to the USA as 'fun' but until all the biggest trade shows move to the UK, what are businesses supposed to do?

    Report on 01 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • oldhenry
    Love rating 343
    oldhenry said

    I am sure that the Treasury are incandescent with rage at the thought of all that APD gone missing. But that is the market place for you . Good for the Irish , I would travel from Dublin if I lived near that city. In fact, when APD become so expensive ( like our energy now is) that it is cheaper to take a Ryan Air to Dublin and then get a flight to the USA, the Irish will be extending Dublin airport and good for them too. The Treasury will never let go of this nice little earner which they expect to milk more and more over tehcoming years, all blamed on climate change of course!

    What nutters ever let the politicans hijack such a nebulous concept of 'saving the planet' and covert it into a massive taxation scam? well I am sure they get lost sof grants for their trouble whiclst we pay through teh nose for everthing.

    Note the Chinese will not pay the European tax on flying , they are not letting climate change get in teh way of their economic growth.

    Report on 02 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • yocoxy
    Love rating 152
    yocoxy said

    I just did a random check on flights to New York from Belfast and London, out on 11th Feb, returning 15th (mon-Friday).

    The Belfast flight is £1049 with United, the only carrier operating the service

    The London flight is £743 with Virgin

    Would I travel to Belfast to save money Rebecca? No, I'd do some research first.

    APD is irrelevant, it's absorbed by the carriers to keep prices level between hubs and it's competition that has most effect on prices.

    Good to see that OH has started the New Year as he ended teh old one, no spill checker, blame politicians orf everything and gooff tangent ta every opportunity. Dublin i sin Ireland, Belfast is in the UK. Teh article si about UK APD.

    Report on 03 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • yocoxy
    Love rating 152
    yocoxy said

    Rebecca, are you still confident that Belfast is the cheapest place from which to fly to New York from the UK?

    I realise that the author doesn't typically write the headline but you do assert this in your first sentence. I don't see any evidence for this claim or acknowledgement that this was an error based on your analysis of APD.

    I think one of those updates would demonstrate good journalistic practice.

    Report on 09 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • meldrewreborn
    Love rating 70
    meldrewreborn said

    The Article says its now cheaper to fly from Belfast to New York. It doesn't spell out that what it is cheaper than. Clearly it means than it was before the APD was reduced then scrapped. It doesn't mean that its the cheapest place to fly from within the UK - although some might have interpreted it that way.

    The most recent reduction is only £12 and I suspect you'd find it difficult to prove that it had been accurately reflected in market prices - but it can only help to preserve the route. I wonder though whether it affects spending by the NI Government? If so the locals (few of whom will fly to New York each year) might not be best pleased, but if it doesn't affect the NI spending then the UK treasury will be livid!

    Report on 10 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

Post a comment

Sign in or register to post a reply.

Our top deals

Credit card
company
Balance transfers rate and period Representative
APR
Apply
now

Barclaycard 31Mth Platinum Visa

0% for 31 months (2.99% fee) Representative 18.9% APR (variable) Apply
Representative example: Assumed borrowing of £1,200 for 1 year, at a Purchase Rate of 18.9% (variable), representative 18.9% APR (variable). Credit available subject to status. A Balance Transfer fee of 3.5% will be applied, then reduced to 2.99% by a refund (terms and conditions apply). Plus an additional £20 fee refund on balance transfers over £2000.

Barclaycard 30Mth Platinum Visa

0% for 30 months (2.89% fee) Representative 18.9% APR (variable) Apply
Representative example: Assumed borrowing of £1,200 for 1 year, at a Purchase Rate of 18.9% (variable), representative 18.9% APR (variable). Credit available subject to status. A Balance Transfer fee of 3.5% will be applied, then reduced to 2.89% by a refund (terms and conditions apply). Plus an additional £20 fee refund on balance transfers over £2000.

MBNA 30Mth Platinum Credit Card Visa

0% for 30 months (2.89% fee) Representative 18.9% APR (variable) Apply
Representative example: Assumed borrowing of £1,200 for 1 year, at a Purchase Rate of 18.9% (variable), representative 18.9% APR (variable). Credit available subject to status.
W3C  Thank you for using One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest