Jetstar Not Happy with Sunshine Coast Council's Passenger Charge Increase

18th Jun 2015

According to Jetstar, the latest Sunshine Coast Council decision of a 77 per cent increase in passenger charges will not go well for the region's tourism industry.

The carrier estimates that, if these charges go ahead, they will increase airport revenue by over $1.3 million, but they could also cost the region's tourism industry more than $8 million.

Jetstar also warns these charges, if they happen, will affect Qantas Group as well. The carrier namely has growth plans which could bring 200,000 more people to Sunshine Coast by 2020. Qantas has also proposes new routes to Auckland, Canberra and Newcastle from 2017.

Marcus James from Jetstar said these changes have taken the carrier by surprise, as there was no corresponding increase in spending at the Sunshine Coast airport.

James also said Jetstar will not cut any services, but the charges make growth of services uneconomic. He added that, given the airport was one of the few remaining community-owned in Australia, and with the region dependent on tourism, the carrier expected more appreciation for growing passenger numbers.

Mr. James said:

"Now is not the time to want to put prices up. Now is the time to encourage passengers. This won't just hit the inbound tourism market. It will cost rate payers and extra $7 every time they fly. We understand this is being run by council. It's picked a number it wants to earn from the airport. They want 'x' amount, they've fixed the number backwards. It's not based on a sound economic cost and impact argument.

He concluded:

"They would have received more money from projected Jetstar growth and retail spending. It's being very short sighted."

Jetstar bring about 70 per cent of passengers to the Sunshine Coast airport and tourism brings a third of the region's gross product, with 36 per cent of people there employed full-time in the industry.