South Africa’s regulatory committee has been slammed by the head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for doubling the price of airport charges.
The regulatory process is allowing Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) to raise its charges by 129 percent between 2010-2015 and for Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) to raise its charges by 71 percent over the same period.
IATA Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani has urged for a review of the country’s economic regulation of air transport infrastructure.
“South Africa has developed good infrastructure, but it is part of a value chain that needs to be cost efficient to be competitive. Allowing increases of 129 percent and 71 percent completely misses the mark,” said Bisignani.
ACSA own nine of the country's airports.
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“Johannesburg, the country’s main gateway, now ranks among the most expensive for airports of its size. Airlines are being made to foot the bill for poor performance and an airport in Durban we did not need. We do need some joined-up thinking.”
Bisignani also criticised South Africa’s proposed carbon tax scheme. The country opposed Europe’s plans to include aviation in its emissions trading scheme next year, but now plans to introduce a similar scheme.
“South Africa is absolutely correct in strongly opposing Europe’s plans. It is illegal and it will introduce strong market distortions, particularly for long-haul destinations. So it is difficult to understand why South Africa is now considering including aviation in its own unilateral carbon tax scheme.
“This must be stopped. As host of COP 17 [a United Nations conference on climate change] later this year, South Africa must show leadership to achieve a global approach on mitigating climate change.
"Taxing aviation is a step in the wrong direction for an industry that was commended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as a role model.”