Airport levies built into fees

SCCZEN_290115bf12_620x310The hassle of stopping off to pay departure levies will soon be a thing of the past for passengers flying out of Rotorua Airport.

From Sunday, the $5 domestic and $15 international departure levy tax will be absorbed into the airport’s landing fees, meaning passengers no longer have to pay the tax directly before they depart.

The departure levies were first introduced in 2002 to make a contribution to the ongoing development of the airport. The adjustment to the airport’s charges is a result of increased airfield charges, allowing it to recover departure taxes from commercial airlines, rather than directly from passengers.

For Bernie Walker, who has worked on the departure levy desk since “day dot” on October 1, 2002, the change brings mixed feelings.

While she thought it was a good move getting rid of the levy, she was a “bit sad” she’ll miss out on some of the connections with travellers.

Ms Walker will take over a new customer service position and was looking forward it.

Over the time she had been with the airport Ms Walker said she’d gotten to know plenty of the regular travellers by name, and she hoped she would still have contact with them.

Acting chief executive Wayne Wootton said the decision was a positive one for the airport and the community.

“We have worked closely with our airline customers to reach this outcome and it is a positive development for the community, streamlining the departure process further for travellers.”

The departure levy desk will remain and function as an information site and help desk. Staff that have worked at the desk will also remain to assist with queries.

“The help desk will be manned part-time by these familiar faces, with staff also picking up other responsibilities.”

Mr Wootton said the increased landing costs might eventually be absorbed into ticket prices.

“This is ultimately a decision by the airlines that operate out of Rotorua, however we have not seen any evidence of increased fares to-date.”

Since 2002, the departure tax has contributed to runway and terminal developments, as well as airport infrastructure renewals and replacements. Going forward it is expected the additional revenue collected directly from the airlines will be used for similar purposes.

Rotorua Daily Post