Airlines oppose New Zealand Airport fees

AUCKLAND Airport has announced increases to its airline charges, resulting in fees ballooning to around two-times their current amount over a five-year period beginning 01 July 2023 – however, two of the airport’s largest customers have rallied against the levies.

Air New Zealand and Qantas have both argued that the changes would negatively impact them, with the potential to make air travel unaffordable for many travellers.

“We all agree that some investment in Auckland Airport is necessary,” Air New Zealand Chief Executive Greg Foran said in a joint statement issued by the two carriers.

“However, this is an enormous spend over a short period of time that adds almost no additional capacity. All it is expected to result in is more costs for everyone who uses, relies on, or passes through the airport, including the aviation industry, the tourism industry, the whole economy, and Air New Zealand’s passengers.”

Foran’s view was backed by Qantas chief Alan Joyce, who said the airport’s proposal “goes far beyond what is needed or affordable”.

“Based on Qantas’ experience, the necessary first phase of this redevelopment could be delivered for significantly less than $3.9 billion, and we’re conscious that the final number will probably be higher, with cost overruns common to most large infrastructure projects,” he added.

In a report published on the ASX, Auckland Airport CEO Carrie Hurihanganui said the new charges will fund part of the “much-needed” investment in infrastructure, including airfield, terminal, baggage and transport improvements.

Airline domestic jet charges will initially rise $3.50 from $6.25 to $10.25, before reaching $15.45 by FY27, the report details, while the international charges will initially go up by $9.40 from $23.40 to $32.80, before climbing to $46.10 by FY27.

The proposal would put an end to the year-long prize freeze adopted by the airport to help airlines rebuild following the pandemic.

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