AA offers to reduce landing charges

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 May, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 May, 2003, 12:00am

The Airport Authority (AA) has offered airlines reduced landing fees at Chek Lap Kok as a carrot for quickly reinstating flights that were cancelled during the Sars crisis.

Industry sources said last night the authority yesterday proposed to the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR), after a week of negotiations, a package of incentives that it hoped would fast-track a recovery in the number of passengers and flights.

The AA's new scheme would offer discounted landing charges on cancelled flights reinstated by airlines with a further link to their corresponding passenger number improvement.

The level of discount has yet to be set, however, as the scheme must be approved by the authority board before it can be moved any further.

Further details of the scheme were expected next week when the two sides meet again. Agreement to the scheme by BAR could also happen next week, the source said.

'We haven't come down to the nitty-gritty of numbers yet, it's still just a concept. But BAR agrees to the scheme and we will all talk again next week,' the source said.

Since the Sars crisis began in mid-March, passenger throughput at the airport has fallen by as much as 70 to 80 per cent, with about two-thirds of flights cancelled.

The unprecedented scale of the downturn has led airlines to lobby the AA for relief from high operating costs at the airport, although the authority has until now been reluctant to agree to discounts.

It unveiled a programme of landing charge and rent deferrals instead last month.

Airport officials have said in the past they were unconvinced that slashing landing charges would help combat the drop in travellers since the crisis was, until yesterday's lifting of the travel advisory, of a medical, not economic, nature.

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