Jetstar And Newcastle Airport Told To Offer Concession
2nd Oct 2014
The increase in landing fees may have yet to be implemented, but the dispute between the two entities over the matter is already becoming a hot issue.
This prompted the Tourism Hunter chairman, Will Creedon, to intervene and urge both parties to resolve the issue as soon as possible as it has already gotten out of hand.
The low-cost airline has just announced that it has decided to downsize its operations from Newcastle Airport starting December 14 this year by removing over half a dozen weekly flights over a 6-week period.
The decision came on the heels of the airport's proposal to implement landing fee increase by more than 50%. It will translate to more than $1.5 million annual revenue for the airport.
However, Jetstar is opposing the proposal, saying it won't be viable for its operations at the airport.
But the Hunter Tourism boss has sided with the airport management and urged Jetstar instead to pay its obligations now.
He said that the airline should not be adamant about its payment obligations to Newcastle Airport as it has been expanding over the last decade to meet its (Jetstar) operational needs. He is hoping that both parties offer concessions to meet halfway so as not to aggravate the situation even more.
He further cautioned that if the airline fails to settle its dispute with Newcastle Airport anytime soon, it might lose altogether the lucrative routes out of Williamtown.
He reminded the airline that it has to pay its fair share saying the airport spent large sum of money to upgrade and improve the airport facilities. Thus, the increase in landing fee reflects the large amount spent on the expansion and improvement of the airport.
He warned that Virgin Australia and other airlines are lying in wait to take the slots vacated by Jetstar if it pushes through with its plan to downsize operations.