6 May 2011
By Chloe Turgis
Belfast International Airport has introduced a controversial new tax – it is charging smokers £1 for lighting up before boarding their flight.
Passengers wishing to have a cigarette after check-in are now allowed to smoke in a designated area. They have to put a £1 coin into a machine which opens the doors to a special zone located by the main duty free area.
The airport explained their decision to introduce the area by saying in a statement: "We recognised that there was a demand for a smoking facility from some customers given that all public places (including airports) are now, and have been for a number of years, non-smoking.
"We are responding to that demand.
"However, providing a specialist facility for a relatively small number of users is expensive to build and to maintain so it is not unreasonable that a small charge should be levied for the use of the facility."
The news comes less than a year after airport bosses introduced a £1 charge for people willing to drop passengers off at Belfast International Airport. There is also a £1 fee for travellers wishing to buy plastic bags at security to carry a small quantity of liquids.
[See also: Ryanair introduces reserved seating for 10 euros]