PROPOSED new landing fees set by Gisborne Airport operator Eastland Group are “simply unaffordable” and equal only to charges for landing at Auckland International Airport, says Sunair chief executive Dan Power.
This week Eastland Group announced it would increase its landing fees by an average of 106 percent to cover the cost of a required runway reseal and to re-roof and extend the terminal.
Air New Zealand, the main carrier from Gisborne to Auckland and Wellington, reacted by saying it will withdraw 16 flights a week from the present schedule of 144.
The fees for smaller 19-seat planes had not been changed for 11 years and for the bigger 50-seat planes, it had not been changed since they first started coming to Gisborne in 2008.
The fees for Sunair, which operates nine small Piper Aztec planes out of Tauranga between Gisborne, Napier, Rotorua, Tauranga and Hamilton, have also not changed over the 10 years the company has flown to Gisborne.
However the 150 percent hike they now face means Sunair will also have to withdraw flights.
“The increases proposed are far in excess of what we are accustomed to pay.
“They are far in excess of any airport in the country, with the exception of Auckland International Airport where we would be facing the same charge as in Gisborne.”
The charges were not affordable and Sunair would have to look at reducing services, Mr Power said.