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Airways wants more from airlines

NZN 5/05/2016 Pattrick Smellie

The state-owned enterprise in charge of air traffic control is seeking to increase its fees it charges airlines by up to 30 per cent over the next three years.

Airways Corp chief executive Ed Sims told BusinessDesk the demand for upgraded technology to cope with booming growth from Asia meant more investment was required.

The corporation is in consultation with airlines about its charging regime now and it "may potentially go up 20-to-30 per cent", shared among the growing array of international carriers now landing in New Zealand.

Direct services to Dubai, Qatar, and the Philippines have all been announced in recent weeks, along with greater competition on routes to the west coast of the US, all through Auckland.

"Our region is facing a period of unprecedented growth; the projected increase in traffic and airspace congestion will have a profound impact on safety, efficiency, environmental sustainability and the wider economy," said Mr Sims.

He said the growth in traffic into Auckland could be accommodated if Airways invested sufficiently in new technology to wring more efficiency out of the runway and the scheduling of planes waiting to take off and land.

"If we don't invest in the right technology and New Zealand finds itself where demand outstrips supply, I don't think that pressure would be too far away," he said.

"I don't know if it will get to the point of needing new airports. I don't see regional (domestic) aircraft growing at the same rate as international traffic."

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