Airways fee proposals: Some questions are answered

19 February 2013 / by Brian Mackie / Costs

Hands up everyone who has not read, from beginning to end, the consultation documents issued by Airways with respect to proposed fee increases?

OK, we put our hands up too.

For very many people in this country, attending an hour-long explanatory Airways seminar involves a two- or three-hour journey by road. We invited Airways to provide a summary of what’s planned, so we could spare you the journey. This would have made the proposals easier to understand for Airways’ clients – but more than three weeks into the process, Airways had not responded to the invitation. All we received was a puzzling PowerPoint presentation.

In the meantime, there were a few immediate questions to ask, and we’re grateful to Scott Scrimgeour at Airways for swiftly answering them. The really bad news for those based within controlled airspace is a more than doubling of their ATC costs per movement.

1 – Based at Napier, and within controlled airspace, I pay about $3.50 for Airways for clearance arrival. Will I now have to pay for a departure clearance?

No, Airways proposes to continue to charge for arrivals only.

However, in line with last year’s Pricing Framework consultations, new prices propose a minimum fee of $7.30 at regional aerodromes, so very light aircraft prices would increase. The minimum fee is part of the pricing formula simplification. The pricing formula has been simplified to a minimum price and a per tonne price. Overall, proposed revenue collected from per movement landings is approximately the same as current levels.

2 – What will be the overall impact of your proposed charges on a light aircraft based at an aerodrome within controlled airspace, per movement? A rough estimate will suffice.

It is proposed all aircraft under 2.6 tonnes would pay a flat fee of $7.30 at regional aerodromes and all aircraft under 3.7 tonnes would pay a flat fee of $10.45 at main trunk aerodromes (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch).

3 – A circuit charge was mentioned at your seminars. Is the charge per touch and go, or does it cover all circuits, go arounds and missed approaches in a single session?

The circuit charge covers all circuits, go arounds and missed approaches, except when the circuit is at an air traffic controller’s request. If the circuit is at an air traffic controller’s request, there would be no charge because it was not the pilot’s choice to fly the circuit.

4 – I understand, anecdotally, that consideration is being given to providing VFR lanes in some controlled airspace. Is this correct, and if so, is this more in relation to CAA’s recently introduced transponder requirements than ATC charges? There is some confusion about this.

Yes, this is correct – consideration is more in line with CAA recently introduced transponder requirements than ATC charges. There are some locations where VFR Transit Lanes are already in place but there are others where it would be helpful to both ATC and pilots, particularly those with aircraft that do not have transponders.

5 – Will those using FISCOM be subject to any charges?

Only if a flight plan is filed – this is not a change from current prices. Proposed prices for filing a flight plan are based on current prices with an inflation adjustment applied.

Roger. Now go make a cup of strong cocoa, and read the documents!

March 6 update:

Airways announced: We have updated our pricing calculator and four comparison tables (which were provided to help customers calculate the impact of Airways’ proposed prices for the 2013 – 2016 period).

The update was necessary to correct an inaccuracy (under which proposed pricing was compared to 2011/12 prices rather than 2012/13 prices).

The online calculator has been updated, while the comparison tables have been updated and uploaded to Airways’ website.

Both the updated calculator and comparison tables now accurately reference 2012/13 prices, not 2011/12 prices (as before).

Using the updated calculator and tables, customers will find their comparative calculations will decrease by 1.8% – representing a minor impact on calculations.

Please be aware all other information featured in Airways’ consultation document is accurate and remains unchanged.

The updated pricing calculator and comparison tables can be found on our website at