I refer to the article by Wong Joon San headlined, 'Business jet operator says costs too high despite fee reductions', which appeared in the 'Airport 2nd Anniversary' special report (South China Morning Post, July 6), in which the rates we charge were incorrectly quoted.
The price of hiring a Challenger aircraft is approximately US$5,000 (about HK$40,000) - $5,500 per hour, not the $3,000 per hour figure reported. The $3,000 amount I quoted to Mr Wong was for the hire of Metrojet's Hawker HS-125, eight-passenger executive jet.
I did not urge the Airport Authority to lower charges by 'extending the 15-year lease period on the Business Aviation Centre'. Rather, I suggested that the 15-year period the authority is using to recoup the costs of building the airport is too short and should be extended. I did not say it was too short a period for an operator to recoup his investment.
I said that, while a 15-year recovery period may be in the best interests of the Airport Authority, it is an unreasonably short period for both the operator and the authority to recoup such large investments. The heavy land base charge levied by the authority, which allows it to recoup its investment in just 15 years is ultimately passed on to the customer and is the principal reason Hong Kong International Airport is one of the most expensive airports in the world.
Also, I said that the average number of aircraft visiting the Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre was 40 per month, not 40 per day.
Finally, the price of fuel at the centre is indeed the highest in all of Asia - at $2.50 per gallon, not $1.50 per gallon as reported.
MARK D. TURNER
Heliservices (HK) Limited