The Hong Kong Airport Authority wants to impose a new charge on airlines in a move that it says will promote more efficient use of aircraft parking facilities and help to increase air traffic. The new scheme also seeks to encourage low-cost carriers by replacing a one-hour minimum parking charge and prolonging the period in which flights operating to new destinations can get landing charge rebates. The proposals, which are subject to public consultations and government approval, would come into force on January 1, according to a document filed to the Legislative Council yesterday. 'All in all, there is a net increase of charges under the proposed scheme,' said a senior executive from one of Hong Kong's smaller airlines. Under the proposals, airlines would pay HK$500 per parking unit for using an air bridge, at present included in a universal landing charge, while a one-hour minimum parking fee will be dropped in favour of charges based only on 15-minute intervals. Airlines that choose to use remote stands rather than air bridges will be charged HK$800 per trip to use the shuttle bus, as is the case at present, the executive said. The present universal landing charge includes use of air bridges, payment of HK$156 for each 15 minutes of parking at terminal building frontal stands with a minimum of one hour charged, or HK$125 at remote stands again with a minimum 60 minutes. The new regime will cut charges for aircraft accommodating fewer than 170 people, such as the B737 or A320, to HK$140 for frontal stands and to HK$99 for remote stands. Charges for larger aircraft are unchanged. Removal of the one-hour minimum parking charge will benefit low-cost carriers, which usually operate with smaller aircraft to obtain a shorter turnaround time, the authority said. The proposals also suggest changing the 'new destination incentive arrangement' that came in to effect in July 2004. A landing charge rebate of 75 per cent will be given during the first six months of flights that start to operate to new destinations between January 1 next year and December 31, 2008. The rebate will fall to 25 per cent in the second six months.