Hamilton Airport drops departure tax

KASHKA TUNSTALL
Last updated 16:55 17/12/2013

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Hamilton Airport has decided to can its $5 departure tax  

Effective from April 1, passengers departing from the airport will no longer pay the domestic departure levy. 

The charge was set up to recoup the costs associated with the $15.5 million spent on the airport's newest terminal built in 2007. 

It applied to all domestic passengers excluding children five and under, aircraft cabin and cockpit crews, and domestic passengers in transit.

This change comes in the wake of the completion of the airport's pricing consultation process with its airline customers. 

Airport commercial general manager George Clark said the charge, which came into effect in 2008, has been a sticking point for airport patrons. 

"Passengers have long been asking for the departure levy ... to be included in the airline ticket price," he said. 

"The removal of the levy streamlines the departure process for both passengers and airlines." 

He said the revenue would be recovered from the airlines, in line with international best practice. 

The revision of the charges is the first of its kind for the airport since 2007 and would see an increase in airfield charges equivalent to 37 cents per passenger. 

The new charges will also, over a 15-year period, recover the cost of resealing the runway, a $4m project due to be commissioned early in 2014, with an estimated additional cost of $1.08 per passenger. 

Abolishing the passenger departure levy and transferring this to the airlines will be cost-neutral for passengers. 

"The revised charges do not provide a full recovery for the airport on aeronautical assets. However, the airport needed to carefully consider both the implication of increased costs to the airlines and the financial performance of the airport," Clark said. 

He said the airport was committed to working with airlines to improve passenger numbers on existing routes, and airline services for Waikato travellers.

The revised landing charges, which all come into effect on April 1, are set to be made available on the Hamilton International Airport website: www.hamiltonairport.co.nz.

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- Waikato Times

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