Give the Air Travel Tax a Holiday – Breen.

July 2nd, 2010 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen said today (Friday) called on the Minister for Finance to give the Air Travel Tax a holiday.

“The Tourism and Aviation Industries continue to be undermined by the Minister’s persistence with this senseless tax. Since this tax was first introduced we have witnessed a downward spiral in visitor numbers and airline routes.”

“While the disruption to air travel in April caused further problems for the hard pressed tourism industry, with 151,300 less trips to Ireland taken by foreign visitors in April of this year compared to last year, the abandonment of routes into Ireland continues to take its toll on the Region.”

“This week Ryanair announced that they are to cut UK winter capacity into this Country by 16% citing the Air Travel Tax as the reason for their decision. Ryanair will reduce their aircraft based at Standsted this winter from 22 aircraft to 24 aircraft and they are moving to somewhere else in Europe where governments have scrapped tourist taxes.”

“Whilst Shannon Airport has received a boost following the introduction of Aer Arann routes out of Shannon to Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Bristol and the additional services committed by Continental and Delta; the fall off in Ryanair business following their failure to renew their five-year contract; passengers numbers at the Airport are expected to drop to 2 million this year. Compare this to the situation at Shannon Airport in 2006, where, passenger traffic peaked to 3.6 million passengers. The decline in passenger traffic could continue well into next year following the decision by Aer Lingus to suspend transatlantic services for three months during the winter.”

“It time for Minister Lenihan to give the Air Travel Tax a holiday. All of the evidence points to the fact that this tax should be abolished and it time for the Finance Minister to act.”