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Airport charging proposals kept under wraps

22 September 2006

Air New Zealand prevented from revealing airport charging proposals

Air New Zealand said today that it is being prevented by a Court order from revealing to the public details of Auckland Airport's proposed new passenger and other charges, due to take effect next September.

"Auckland Airport is so concerned about the public effect of this proposal that they've obtained a court injunction to stop us talking about it," said Rob McDonald, Chief Financial Officer.

"They're hiding behind a confidentiality agreement designed to protect competitively sensitive information. Clearly there's an issue of significant public interest here, especially in Passenger Departure Fees which already delivered a 25 percent increase to Auckland Airport in July when the Airport began to retain the part of the fee previously paid to Government. Clearly the Airport has something large to hide. The public and the Government should be asking what it is that Auckland Airport is so concerned about?"

In previous cases on this issue, the High Court has said current legislation makes Air New Zealand the `watchdog' on behalf of the travelling public when it comes to departure charges and airport development fees. Yet the Airport Authorities Act allows an Airport, which is in a monopolistic position to set charges `as it sees fit.'

The current position yet again highlights the urgent need for reform of the way airport charges are determined.

"Now we have been gagged by the Airport from revealing what those proposed charges are, despite Auckland Airport having itself signalled to its investors that consultation includes passenger departure fees being likely to increase."

IATA's Director General and CEO had recently described New Zealand's airports at Auckland and Wellington as `an embarrassment' because of their degree of profitability, confirming they were among the most expensive in the world to operate from on a relative basis.

ENDS

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