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London debut for fees case

By Graeme Kennedy

Friday 7th March 2003

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Air New Zealand subsidiary Freedom Air and Hamilton and Palmerston North airports will have their appeal against Maf charges heard by the Privy Council next month.

Hamilton Airport chief executive Hugh McCarroll said his company in 1997 challenged the Ministry's right to charge the provincial airport for processing international passengers while government paid for the same services at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Freedom Air and Palmerston North joined in a High Court action which they won but Maf was successful in a 2001 appeal.

Mr McCarroll said the airports argued that Maf had not followed proper procedures and had imposed the charges illegally while the state funded the services at the major gateways.

He said Hamilton was paying the charges pending the Privy Council hearing and passing them on to Freedom, which operates 11 international flights direct to Australian east coast destinations a week.

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