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Airlines To Pay For Security Screening

Airlines are to be charged to fund security screening arrangements for domestic air travellers, Transport Minister Mark Gosche announced today.

From April 1 next year, a new charge of $2.80 per passenger will be charged to airlines running regular domestic services using aircraft with 90 or more seats. This will fund the Aviation Security Service’s (AvSec) costs for providing domestic screening.

Until April these costs will be met by the government, Mr Gosche said.

“These measures have been essential for the safety of New Zealand airline passengers since September 11. “

The cost of AvSec providing permanent domestic screening is estimated at approximately $8.197 million per year. The government has already spent approximately $3.1 million on domestic aviation security since September 11, not including defence force costs, Mr Gosche said.

We have decided to recover future costs from those who are directly benefiting from the screening – the airlines and passengers.”

Domestic screening of air passengers was introduced in New Zealand after the September 11 attacks in the United States. Domestic passengers are currently screened at six airports – Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Queenstown.

The current domestic screening measures are temporary, but permanent arrangements will be implemented from this Friday, December 21. Defence force personnel have been assisting AvSec with screening duties but from Friday they will be replaced by AvSec staff. Approximately 126 extra staff are expected to be employed as a result.

The six affected airports are also likely to incur costs making structural changes to terminals and apron areas, to prevent screened and unscreened passengers from interacting, said Mr Gosche.

“AvSec and the Civil Aviation Authority will work very closely with affected airport operators to help them make these changes. I ask for the public’s patience while these changes are made. The aim is to protect the safety of the New Zealand travelling public, and to safeguard our reputation as a safe place for international tourists to travel,” said Mr Gosche.

Ends

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