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International Departure Fee still to go under Wellington Airport's revised proposal

23 Nov 2011

Wellington Airport has announced a revised pricing proposal that reduces the level of charges put forward in the initial proposal while still removing the International Departure Fee for passengers.

“The revised pricing proposal follows constructive discussions with airlines”, said Wellington Airport acting CEO John Howarth.

“As with any consultation process, after presenting our initial proposal we sought and received comprehensive feedback and responses from Air New Zealand and the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand and we believe this a productive and workable outcome for airlines, passengers, and our shareholders, which include all Wellington City ratepayers.”

“Removing the departure fee will improve the experience of passengers using the airport for international departures, and that’s important to us,” said Mr Howarth. “The revised proposal continues to ensure international travel is competitive and the reduction in international charges will help to promote new routes and additional services to the Capital.”

Under the revised proposal International charges would reduce by $1.64 per passenger each year in real terms. Domestic charges would increase on average by 82c each year.  Overall, the average fees per passenger are proposed to increase by 49c or 4.2% per year in real terms.

The Airport, voted Australasia’s best at the World Travel Awards, has proposed to invest $65m in aeronautical assets.  The most significant capital developments proposed include the Southern Terminal expansion, which will provide increased gate lounge space and new toilets, and the expansion of the Southern Apron to increase aircraft capacity and provide a more efficient taxiway.

The revised proposal is the latest stage of a year long consultation process to determine the amount airlines will pay for using the airport’s facilities and infrastructure from 1 April 2012. The Airport Authorities Act provides a legal framework the Airport to set sufficient price levels to operate the Airport and provide a fair return on the funds invested to Infratil’s 16,000, mainly New Zealand, shareholders and Wellington City ratepayers.

The Airport Authorities Act legislation was retained in Parliaments recent consideration of the Commerce Act. The Airport’s financial returns will be reviewed by the Commerce Commission in 2012.

The revised proposal would place Wellington Airport in the mid range of Australasian airports in terms of cost per passenger and in between prices at Christchurch and Auckland airports.

The next series of feedback from airlines on the proposed changes is due on 23 December before a final proposal is issued in February 2012.

About Wellington Airport

•Wellington Airport was named Australasia's Leading Airport at the 2011 World Travel Awards. The Airport’s new terminal The Rock has won 13 architecture and construction awards including the Transport category at the prestigious World Architecture Festival in Barcelona and the Supreme Award at the Registered Master Builders Awards.
•As a vitally important piece of national infrastructure, Wellington Airport provides a significant ongoing contribution to the region’s economy as well as delivering a return to the city and shareholders on the funds invested.
•Wellington Airport is owned by Wellington City Ratepayers and Infratil’s 16,000 mainly New Zealand based shareholders.
•In the year ended March 2011, the airport paid a $9m dividend to Wellington City Council which is the equivalent of $120 for each and every ratepayer.
•Of New Zealand’s major airports, Wellington Airport is the most cost efficient. Its proximity to the CBD also saves travellers time and money.
•By 2030, passenger numbers are expected to double to 10 million. This growth will require a $450m investment in essential infrastructure. The increase will enable Wellington Airport to generate 11,500 new jobs in the region, sustaining 21,000 full time positions and increasing its contribution to the regional economy to $1.6b a year with flow-on impacts of $3.1b.
•Over the five year pricing period, Wellington Airport proposes to invest $65m in the aeronautical assets required to accommodate anticipated growth and maintain the facility over the pricing period.

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