Rex loses Dubbo screening cost recovery legal argument

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 30, 2014
Re has lost its argument in the NSW Land & Environment Court that it should not have to pay or pass on screening costs at Dubbo.
Re has lost its argument in the NSW Land & Environment Court that it should not have to pay or pass on screening costs at Dubbo.

Regional Express has been unsuccessful in proceedings it brought against the Dubbo City Council in the NSW Land & Environment Court.

The airline had argued that it should not have to pay screening charges or be forced to pass the costs of doing so at Dubbo Airport on to its passengers.

The action was brought against Dubbo City Council after rival QantasLink commenced Q400 services to the western NSW centre. The Q400 is above the 20,000kg threshold requirement for passenger and baggage screening which, as the airport owner, council was required to conduct. Council determined in October 2012 that all passengers entering the airside area of the airport should be screened, regardless of what airline they were travelling on, and that all screening costs be passed on to those passengers.

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In a statement on the council’s Facebook page, Dubbo Mayor Councillor Mathew Dickerson said: “The decision confirms that Council can conduct security screening services at Dubbo City Regional Airport on a full cost recovery basis, that costs can be charged to all regular passenger transport operators using the Airport, and that fees be spread across all flying passengers including those of both Regional Express Airlines (Rex) and QantasLink.”

8 Comments

  • Ben

    says:

    So it’s no longer ‘user pays’, it’s just everybody pays regardless? I believe we already have a word for that… ‘Tax’. How long before some over zealous councillor gets the bright idea to just charge all aircraft that use the airport? Albury has this screening mess worked out, why can’t Dubbo deal with it?

  • Paul

    says:

    Cant wait to see what Mr Lim Kim Hai now. REX have been jumping up and down about this for a while with threats of cancelling flights Cant wait!.

  • David

    says:

    As a concept this is ridiculous. Where else do companies have to pay for policing services that are Government mandated?

    Isn’t that why companies pay company tax, GST, GST on top of Fuel excise (double taxing) payroll tax and everything else? There is already GST on airline tickets.

    How would we all feel if the State governments started saying to citizens sorry but you have to pay for the Police on top of you taxes. No money – no protection… Sounds a bit like the Mafia doesn’t it?

  • Leon Burger

    says:

    Ben,

    Perhaps it is best if you first get all the facts before making such a comment.

    Some smaller airports do not have the resources to establish parallel passenger service facilities for screened and non-screened services. They therefore have no option but to process passengers (and baggage) through one set of facilities. Since the higher regulatory requirement has to be met, it follows logically that the other services have to comply to the same standards. The alternative for the smaller aircraft operator is to not fly into that airport, or to re-schedule to a time when there are no screened services operating. Neither of these options are acceptable to operators.

    The same goes for small GA aircraft using our Code 4 C runway; we know they do not need it, by our highest classification aircraft do, and fees and charges are set to maintain the higher category of runway. The small aircraft operator has to pay pro-rata for this.

    It is therefor not the kneejerk reaction of over zealous councillors that prompts such decisions, but the dictates of a local buiness plan to provide services to all comers.

  • Peter

    says:

    Why aren’t Councils charging trucks and buses to use their roads as these vehicles enter their towns? The local council pays for their local roads just like they do for their local airport, so why isn’t there a charging system for the trucks and buses using the local roads? And if you are having a picnic in the local council park but you’re not a rate paying resident, then why isn’t Council charging these free-loaders to use Council facilities?

    The whole “user pays” system for airports is completely biased and grossly unfair if all other Council facilites are also not charged for. Basically aviation is an easy target and has always been viewed as a play thing for only rich people.

  • Paul

    says:

    Does Rex use the same terminal and facilities at Wagga? I heard the REX pax went a different way or something to avoid the screening. Anybody know?

  • Wayne

    says:

    Ben

    You sit in your ivory tower on the public purse and state that it is OK for the user pay principal to apply to non-users of a service simply by being there. I notice that the Dubbo Council doesn’t collect fees from the heavy truck operators who tear up the roads. Why not?

    It is not right that one is forced to pay for something that is not legally required.

  • Jeff

    says:

    In reply to Paul, I believe that Rex uses the same terminal at Wagga but they have two seperate departure areas, one that caters for the QantasLink aircraft that legally requires to be screened and one that caters for Rex aircraft that do not legally required to be screened. I would rather depart with Rex from Wagga and avoid all of the inconvieniene.

    It is a silly argument to apply the higest regulatory requirments to everyone (and the cost) just to make it supposedly easier. Imagine if that is how all levels of Government approached decision making. I also agree with other comments here about user pays. Why is an airport treated entirely different to other council businesses in terms of strict user pays? The bridge I drove across on the way to work this morning was not user pays with a special bridge tax.

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