A Brief Guide to Airport Development Charges in the British Isles


The British Isles are home to over 6,000 islands, with various commercial airports serving the two constituent sovereign states of the archipelago: the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. These facilities come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, but did you know that some have airport development fees?


Norwich Airport (NWI), in the east of England, is one of the establishments that imposes such a charge. According to the Eastern Daily Press, this was introduced in 2007, when all departing passengers had to pay £5 to use the airport. This equates to £8.20 ($9.38) in today’s money. The fee has since undergone some changes.


2011 saw the charge double, with departing passengers having to pay £10 ($11.44) to use the airport from. However, it also removed the need to pay the fee for passengers under 16. According to the Norwich Airport website, the fee supports “further development of airport infrastructure and passenger facilities, and [maintains] and [develops] airport road network.”

Departing passengers can pay the Norwich Airport Development Fee in cash or by card at landside ATMs. This produces a receipt with a barcode, which they can then scan to allow access to security and departures. In case of cancellation of a departing flight, those who have already paid will be refunded.

Norwich airport empty departure lounge

Photo: Jake Hardiman | single flight

West Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland, Ireland West Airport (NOC) in County Mayo also charges a similar fee. This applies to all departing passengers aged 12 and over and costs €10 ($10) per person. The airport explains that:

“It is a service charge that the airport charges for the use of its facilities and as a contribution to the development of infrastructure, including passenger and airline services, maintenance and ongoing operation of this airport Services include terminal facilities, safety and security, airline services such as air traffic control, navigational aids, runway systems, aircraft parking and fire services.

The facility, whose name previously included a reference to the nearby village of Knock, has worked with its resident airline and tour operators to ensure departing passengers are aware of their obligation to pay development fees. As in Norwich, money is taken in cash or by card before passengers enter through security.

West of Ireland Airport Terminal

Photo: Ireland West Airport

Some airports have waived this fee

In years past, other airports in the British Isles have also charged departing passengers development fees. One such facility was Cornwall Newquay Airport (NQY), which, according to the BBC, charged departing passengers aged 16 and over £5 each between 2006 and 2016. The airport’s decision to scrap these charges prompted Ryanair, which had left in 2011, to serve Newquay again.

More recently, Business Traveler reported a similar decision from Teesside Airport (MME). The facility introduced a £6 charge for departing passengers in 2010 but scrapped it last year. This coincided with the launch of a new route to Corfu (CFU) operated by Ryanair, a carrier which has openly opposed the charges.

Did you know the different airport development fees in the British Isles? have you ever used an airport with such an obligation? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Sources: BBC, Business Traveller, Eastern Daily Press, Ireland West Airport, Norwich Airport


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