Northern Ireland Airports Call for Return of Duty Free for EU Flights

Northern Ireland Airports Call for Return of Duty Free for EU Flights

Northern Ireland’s three main airports, backed by the UK Travel Retail Forum, are uniting to call on the UK Government and the European Commission to return duty free for flights from Northern Ireland to the EU.

The UK formally left the EU at the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. From January 2021 duty free shopping from British airports was extended to include EU destinations. This facility was not extended to Northern Ireland’s airports. The reason given at the time was the on-going discussion with the EU on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. With the agreement of the Windsor Framework, Belfast International, Belfast City and the City of Derry airports believe it is time to correct this anomaly and return duty free facilities to Northern Ireland’s airports.

Duty free sales account for over £900 million in GDP to the UK economy, supporting local economies and jobs, and generating significant non-aeronautical revenue for airports. Non-aeronautical revenue can account for as much as 40 per cent of the total revenue of an airport, and smaller, regional airports can be particularly sensitive to it, as it supports reinvestment, capital expenditure and permits new route development which in turn can generate further aeronautical revenue.

The inability of Northern Irish airports to sell duty free to passengers travelling to either GB or the EU is already resulting in an estimated £5 million loss each year to regional Gross Value Added. Given the Northern Irish economy is comparatively small in size, this loss continues to be substantial.

The three airports, and the wider travel retail industry, are calling on the UK Government and the EU Commission to use the mechanisms under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the Windsor Framework to find a solution to this problem.

Nigel Keal, Chairperson of the UK Travel Retail Forum, said, ‘The return of duty free post-Brexit has proven incredibly popular with consumers, with overseas retailers seeing significant increases in sales of duty free goods to departing UK passengers. This has been a crucial financial support as the aviation and travel retail sectors recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Preventing airports and businesses in Northern Ireland from accessing this revenue stream is unfair. It puts them at a competitive disadvantage to the rest of the UK, and to the rest of Europe.’

Image by ArtHit/ Via OpenVerse/CC BY 2.0

 

Antoinette Tyrrell is a writer and journalist who started her career in print and broadcast journalism in Ireland. An English and History graduate of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, she worked for 11 years in corporate public relations for Irish Government bodies in the Foreign Direct Investment and Energy sectors.

She is the founder of GoWrite, a business writing and public relations consultancy. Her work has appeared in a range of national and international media and trade publications. She is also a traditionally published novelist of commercial fiction.

newsletter
Join our mailing list and never miss an update !
Urgent Response Needed to Measles Outbreak in Europe

Urgent Response Needed to Measles Outbreak in Europe

Updated data from 2023 released by the WHO has highlighted the urgency of a swift and concerted response to measles outbreaks in the WHO European Region. Last year, more than

EU Reaffirms Commitment to Eradicate Female Genital Mutilation

EU Reaffirms Commitment to Eradicate Female Genital Mutilation

The European Commission has reaffirmed its strong commitment to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation worldwide, ahead of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on 6 February 2024. It

Measles Surge Across WHO European Region

Measles Surge Across WHO European Region

Measles continues to spread in the WHO European Region, with over 42,200 cases reported by 41 Member States for 2023. The WHO European Region, comprises 53 countries, covering a vast