City Refutes Hanson’s Airport Claims

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City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder CEO John Walker has refuted One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson’s claims that the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport is the most expensive regional airport in Australia. 

In a video shared online earlier today, Senator Hanson states that she was requested by residents in Port Hedland to investigate why the cost of rural and regional flights is so high, and she alleges that these costs are driven up by the landing fees charged by local governments.

CEO John Walker said that the figures quoted by Senator Hanson, which she states have been provided to her by Virgin Australia, did not tally with what the City knows that it is charging airlines that fly to Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

“Senator Hanson has come out and said our airport charges the most for landing fees – more than $13,000 for a 737-800.  We are at a loss as to how she, and Virgin Australia, have arrived at this figure,” he said.

“The City, like all other airport operators, does charge landing fees and passenger fee.  Our landing fee is $12.90 per tonne, and our passenger fee, or ‘Terminal Services Levy’, is $25.80. Both these prices are inclusive of GST.

“We also have a Screening Charge of $9.95 per departing passenger, which doesn’t apply to incoming flights and is actually a revenue neutral charge – we only charge the airlines what we are paying the contractor to screen passengers.

“Based on the same aircraft type and passenger numbers quoted by Senator Hanson, our actual total charges are $9143.83 for a complete aircraft turnaround – that is the Landing Fee of $1019.23 on arrival, Terminal Services Levy of $3405.60 for 132 passengers arriving at Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport, and then for the departing flight Terminal Services Levy of $3405.60 and Screening Charges totalling $1313.40 for the 132 outbound passengers.

“We are having our own ‘please explain’ moment here. The City has been working hard to develop and support a strong and sustainable tourism industry for Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the wider Goldfields region, and for the airline and Senator Hanson to undermine this by publishing incorrect figures isn’t doing anyone in regional Western Australia any good.

“We are aware that airfares to our regional centres, especially to places like Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Newman and Port Hedland, are exorbitant, but we believe this is more to do with mining companies continuing to pursue fly in-fly out work forces and driving up the demand, therefore the cost, of flights rather than the landing fees local governments charge to ensure their ratepayers are not footing the bill for airport maintenance and the costs related to running this necessary infrastructure.”

You can see Senator Hanson's statement here.