The ACCC is seeking feedback on Airservices Australia’s plan to increase fees to airlines for navigation and aviation rescue and fire-fighting (ARFF) services for the first time in eight years.
Airservices, which decreased its prices in 2019, is looking to raise them to cover increased costs. The ATC body is planning four price increases between April 2024 and January 2026, which would between them raise the weighted average prices for these services by 19 per cent in nominal terms.
Under the first proposed price rise, the cost per passenger for ATC services would go from $13 to $14 on a 737-800 from Melbourne to Brisbane, and from $35 to $37 on an A380 from Singapore to Sydney.
“We want to hear the aviation industry’s views on Airservices Australia’s proposal, in particular the domestic and international airlines that operate in Australian airspace,” ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver said.
“As Airservices Australia is the only declared provider of air traffic control and aviation fire-fighting services the ACCC is required to assess any price increase against statutory criteria.”
An Airservices spokesperson told Australian Aviation that, on a weighted average basis, its current prices are at 2012 levels following a two per cent reduction in 2019, and that it last increased its prices by 0.4 per cent in 2015.
“Airservices is seeking to increase prices to rebalance charges to changes in demand and enable us to continue to fund frontline service delivery and invest in key programs to support industry’s ongoing recovery and future growth,” the spokesperson said.
“Airservices sets its prices under Long Term Pricing Agreements, normally set over five-year periods. At the end of our last pricing agreement in 2015-2016, Airservices restructured its business to help manage the impact of industry contraction following the mining boom. The savings delivered under the restructuring program avoided the need for us to increase our prices.”
More details on the price increases are available at the ACCC’s website, with submissions due by 19 January 2024.