Aviation industry slams CAA fees increase

Aviation NZ has slammed new Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) fees that could increase costs on flight operators by tens of thousands of dollars.

The fees hike, due to be implemented on July 1 following the CAA’s 32-month Triennial Funding Review 2016-19, has “caused considerable angst and frustration”, said Aviation NZ chief executive John Nicholson.

“[Yet] it contained nothing about improving CAA efficiency, and actually resulted in $2m less revenue for the regulator over three years,” added Nicholson. “Where is the business sense in that?”

The CAA said its new charges would provide better safety incentives and help ensure that aviation participants are paying a fairer share of the costs of safety oversight.

The changes include the removal of the hourly charge for routine surveillance, new activity-based operations safety levies, and a reduction of the medical certification application fee from $272.17 to $105.

However, the new levies could see some flight operators pay CAA up to $60,000 more a year, according to Aviation NZ’s analysis of the increases.

“CAA currently recognises the safety performance of the companies that will bear the brunt of the increases through the costs they pay for inspections and audits, identifies them in its risk profiles as lower risk and has approved many of them as training organisations,” said Aviation NZ.

“Agricultural companies, for example, are now paying reduced ACC rates because of their exemplary safety performance. Why should these companies pay CAA so much more?”

For Adventure Aviation, which includes ballooning and scenic flight operations, CAA’s new safety levies will double next year.

While shifting more costs onto the General Aviation sector, CAA has made small changes to passenger safety levies – domestic levy down by 11 cents per passenger, ANZA levy up 2 cents and international levy up 30 cents – and reduced the medical certification fee paid by individual pilots.

“In reality, this means that CAA will guarantee future income streams for itself through a safety levy and continue to charge companies at its $246 plus GST hourly rate for certification, exposition and exemption work,” said Aviation NZ.

For more details of the new fees and levies, click here.

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