Change to airport departure tax


PASSENGERS FLYING from the State’s smaller airports will not have to pay the airport departures tax, following Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan’s decision to act on representations made to him.

The change marks the second alteration to the proposal since it was first announced in the budget, as Mr Lenihan has already reduced the fee applicable to short UK journeys.

Under yesterday’s move, Carrickin airport in Donegal and Sligo airport in Strandhill will be exempted following Mr Lenihan’s decision.

During the committee stage hearing on the Finance Bill, Mr Lenihan said concerns had been brought to him about the tax, and the importance of the local airports to their region. “It is desirable that flights departing those airports be exempted from the start of the air travel tax. Consequently, I have asked the Revenue Commissioners, and they have agreed, to apply the intended revised 50,000 departing passenger exemption threshold pending the necessary legislative change being enacted,” he said.

Sinn Féin European Parliament candidate in the North West constituency, Pádraig MacLochlainn, said Mr Lenihan has completed “a U-turn” from a move that would have had “a detrimental impact on both Sligo and Donegal” if it had gone ahead.

In the budget, Mr Lenihan ruled that passengers would have to pay €10 per trip, or €2 if they were flying to short-distance locations in the UK, although he subsequently amended that to cover trips from any Irish airport to west coast airports in the UK.