Airport fee hike challenged
Auckland Airport plans to increase the fees it charges airlines over the next five years.
The increases are to help pay for an infrastructure spend-up that chief executive Adrian Littlewood said would make the airport more spacious and intuitive to travel through.
One upside for passengers is confirmation of a new $402 million domestic terminal building which will do away with the need for a bus transfer or 10 minute uncovered walk when transferring between international flights and domestic jets.
‘‘There will be better and faster passenger journeys through and around our airport,’’ Littlewood said.
‘‘Passengers are going to see a significant change in the terminal experience.
‘‘There is going to be a much more open and spacious feel.’’
The airport sets out its charges every five years and the new fees will be subject to regulatory oversight by the Commerce Commission.
But the Board of Airline Representatives (Barnz), which represents 28 major airlines, said the airport was planning to charge $65m more over the five-year period than the airlines thought was reasonable.
Littlewood said that response was to be expected given the commercial interests of its members, but discus- sions with Barnz and individual airlines about the airports’ plans had been very constructive.
‘‘They have been across this for the last 12 months.’’
Average charges for international passengers will fall slightly from $23.34 per take-off and landing before rising to $23.50 by 2022, under Auckland Airport’s plan.
The average charge for domestic passengers will rise from $5.77 to $6.57 over the same period, after a 4 cent dip next year.
The airport said that meant charges for international flights would fall by 1.7 per cent ‘‘in real terms’’, per year, over the next five years, while those for domestic passengers would increase by 0.8 per cent, annually, on top of inflation.
All the fees are paid directly by airlines, but passengers can expect them to feed through into ticket prices if they are approved by the Commerce Commission.
The fee changes would help pay for a $1.8b investment programme, Littlewood said.
The most expensive item will be the new domestic jet terminal, which will be attached to the international terminal.
‘‘There will be better and faster passenger journeys through and around our airport’’