Auckland Airport charges still a threat to travellers
The Commerce Commission has found that Auckland Airport is targeting returns above the Commission’s assessment of a
normal return. The Commission has calculated that consumers will be over-charged to the extent of $72m over the current
five year pricing period.
Nevertheless the Commission concluded that the Airport’s returns are not so high as to suggest it will earn excessive
profits because the Airport’s targeted 8.0% return lies just within the Commission’s estimate of an acceptable range of
return of 7.1% to 8.0%.
Kristina Cooper, Legal Counsel for BARNZ, says while Auckland’s charges for landing aircraft on the airfield and for
passengers passing through the domestic terminal are reasonable, the prices for passengers passing through the
international terminal are excessive and generate an excessive profit.
“Airlines operating in a hugely competitive environment are forced to either pass those costs on, so those fees
ultimately come out of travellers’ pockets, or else absorb the costs which can result in reduced services” Ms Cooper
BARNZ has constantly pointed out that New Zealand has one of the lightest handed regimes for airport pricing among
developed countries. In BARNZ’s view the Commission’s conclusion that Auckland Airport will be over-charging consumers
by $72m more than necessary to earn a normal return shows that the current regulatory regime is not protecting consumers
from over-charging by airports.
“It is time for New Zealand to match good international practice and introduce some curbs on airports’ freedom to set
whatever charges they like,” Ms Cooper says. “The Commission’s reports on first Wellington Airport and now Auckland
Airport have shown the present regime is ineffective.”