Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar has marked the reduction of the air travel tax to zero from 1st April 2014 and welcomed the response of the airlines to the Government’s move in the last Budget.
“Following the general election this Government said it would cut the air travel tax to zero if the airlines were willing to increase capacity on our key access routes,” he said. “The airlines have responded with more than 20 new flights into Ireland and increased capacity on existing routes. That is why we are fulfilling that commitment this week.
“2013, the year of The Gathering, was the best year for inbound tourism since 2008. I intend 2014 to be even better thanks to the Wild Atlantic Way, better value for money and competitive and direct air access. My focus as Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport is to generate even more direct air and ferry services into Ireland in the years ahead.”
Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “The reduction of the air travel tax to zero is really good news for tourism to Ireland. As an island destination, direct and convenient access services, as well as competitive airfares, are vital to our future tourism success. We know that value for money remains a major factor for people everywhere when choosing a holiday destination.
“In addition to new Aer Lingus services from San Francisco and Toronto, as well as extended services from Etihad and Emirates later this year, it is wonderful to see new Ryanair flights starting in April, from important tourism markets like France and Germany. Tourism Ireland is committed to working with airports, airlines, ferry operators and other tourism interests to drive demand for services from international markets to the island of Ireland and to help maintain our vital network of routes.”
Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair Chief Marketing Officer, said: “Ryanair is delighted to launch 20 new routes this summer from Dublin, Knock and Shannon, which will deliver over one million additional passengers through Irish airports this year. This growth is a direct result of the Government’s welcome decision to scrap the travel tax from 1st April and we look forward to delivering further new routes, jobs and tourism growth in Ireland.”
Declan Kearney, Aer Lingus Director of Communications, said: “We welcome the abolition of the air travel tax. Its removal is a very positive step that will benefit consumers, the tourism and hospitality sectors, airports, airlines and the broader Irish economy.”
Simon Fagan, Chief Commercial Officer, Stobart Air, said: “The Government is to be commended for its decision to abolition the tax. We are already seeing a response of the decision, with a tangible rise in booking numbers for the coming months. We expect a further bounce in passenger numbers once the abolition takes effect, particularly as we roll out new routes and our summer schedule.”