Airport runs at $300,000 loss for City

Albany Extra - - Extra News - Tayler Neale

The City of Al­bany has re­vealed to a Par­lia­men­tary in­quiry on re­gional air­fares that it is run­ning the Al­bany Airport at a loss.

The Al­bany leg of the in­quiry, run by the State’s Eco­nom­ics and In­dus­try Stand­ing Com­mit­tee, was held on Tues­day as the City pre­sented a joint sub­mis­sion with the WA Re­gional Cap­i­tals Al­liance.

City Mayor Den­nis Welling­ton said af­ter ac­count­ing for de­pre­ci­a­tion, the City was los­ing out.

“The fact is, at the end of the day we own the airport and we run it as a busi­ness unit; the air­line runs theirs as a busi­ness unit,” he said.

“I just got a me­dia re­lease from Re­gional Ex­press say­ing they’ve quadru­pled their prof­its in the last year and we still run at a loss.”

City chief ex­ec­u­tive An­drew Sharpe said the City’s $1.1 mil­lion op­er­at­ing rev­enue sur­plus in 201617 was erad­i­cated with $1.4 mil­lion of de­pre­ci­a­tion on the $30 mil­lion airport.

“It wouldn’t be good gov­ern­ment if we weren’t pro­vid­ing for the re­place­ment of that as­set,” Mr Sharpe said. “So es­sen­tially we’re run­ning at a loss of about $300,000 if you take into ac­count de­pre­ci­a­tion.”

Mr Welling­ton in­di­cated the City would be in­ter­ested in Gov­ern­ment sup­port to cover its cap­i­tal costs. “If you want to go back to coun­cil and make it a pol­icy where we of­fered in­cen­tives to the air­line if the cap­i­tal cost was taken out of our con­sid­er­a­tion for up­grad­ing the airport, we’d be all over it like a rash,” he said.

REX pro­vided a writ­ten sub­mis­sion to the in­quiry that in­cluded a com­par­i­son of airport charges across the coun­try.

Al­bany’s av­er­age airport charges are listed as more than three times that of REX’s traditional network. “The cost of airport charges in WA are as­tro­nom­i­cally high, some 300-350 per cent higher than the rest of Aus­tralia,” the REX sub­mis­sion stated.

Al­bany Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try chief ex­ec­u­tive Russ Clark said dereg­u­la­tion was not vi­able in Al­bany.

“I’m not con­vinced that with the pas­sen­ger numbers at the mo­ment that dereg­u­la­tion would work,” he said.

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