A senior representative of the International Air Transport Association (Iata) believes the handover may be the catalyst needed for to resolve the deadlock with the Airport Authority over charges at Chek Lap Kok. Board of Airline Representatives deputy chairman Gilbert Chow said the overlap between the current and future Government administrations of Hong Kong could be limiting the Authority's flexibility. 'I have a sense that the management we are talking to at the authority is under a very tight restraint, as dictated by the financial support agreement. Our hope is that things will change for the better.' Under the terms of this financial support agreement - signed between the British and Chinese Governments in mid-1995 - the Hong Kong Government agreed to inject $36.6 billion in equity into the airport project before and after the handover. Mr Chow's statements confirm there will almost certainly be no settlement of the fees issue before the handover. It has previously been thought that airlines were keen to settle the issue before the change of sovereignty. After the latest round of talks on fees reached no significant resolution, the authority scheduled another meeting between the two parties after the handover - on July 16 and 17. One of the sticking points from the airlines' point of view is the authority's resistance to calls to submit a complete business plan for the airport to Iata - because it contains what they describe as 'commercially sensitive information'. Mr Chow has questioned this contention. 'The authority is different from any commercial enterprise,' he said. 'You can't equate it with a normal commercial enterprise. It is a single provider of a public utility - there is no competitor.' Iata claims the authority is seeking a $4 billion first-year target for 'aeronautical revenues' at the new airport, compared with the $1.2 billion projected for the 1997-98 year at Kai Tak. Mr Chow claims the authority's projections on how traffic will grow at the new airport in the medium-to-long term are too conservative - a fact which has prompted the authority to review its projections. Iata is looking to extract more detailed figures from the authority's business plan - including projected revenues, expenditure and cash flows, to give a proper analysis on whether the charges are justified. Mr Chow hopes the fact that only one Government regime will effectively be running Hong Kong after the handover will give added flexibility to the authority in releasing such details.