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Air NZ withholds higher airport charges

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Friday 20th October 2000

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Air New Zealand is withholding the first increase in landing charges due to be paid today to Auckland International Airport as the two companies line up to do battle in court.

The airline yesterday announced it has filed legal proceedings against AIA over the increased charges, and says it is taking the lead on behalf of all the airport's airline customers.

Auckland Airport announced progressive increases in landing charges starting from the beginning of September this year with an 8.5% rise, to be followed by further increases next September and in 2002.

Air New Zealand pays around half of the airport's estimated $46 million in landing charges each year, but claims the airport failed to consult substantial customers before November 29 last year, as required under the Airport Authorities Amendment Act 1997. The airline also says the airport failed to consult adequately in respect of the increased charges announced on August 22, and imposed future increases without apparent intention to consult as required by law.

Air NZ spokesperson, David Beatson, says Auckland Airport is seeking increased charges which can't be justified.

"That is of obvious concern to all users, especially when much of AIAL's success is based upon passenger volume increases in a natural monopoly business that is mainly fix-cost".

The managing director of AIA, John Goulter, would not make any comment on the proposed court action.

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