Airport pick-up fee rise

Commercial transport operators using Queenstown Airport are about to be stung by higher fees.

At present, the airport charges $3.45 for a pick-up.

But from next Thursday, Mountain Scene understands the airport will charge $8.05 for pick-ups as well as drop-offs.

Queenstown Airport Corporation - mostly owned by Queenstown ratepayers - would not confirm the changes, saying in a statement its commercial vehicle deals were ''sensitive and confidential''.

But several sources confirmed the fee hikes.

Taxi operators were reluctant to talk. Green Cabs area manager Martin Amott did not want to comment, while Queenstown Taxis managing director Grant Scannell said: ''We're still in talks with the airport so realistically I've got no comment at this stage.''

Founder of app-based private hire business TakeMe, Luis Kreische, believed the airport was standardising fees as ''revenge'' for taxi companies clipping the ticket.

He said taxis were charging $6 to pick up when they were only being charged $3.45.

Mr Scannell said of Mr Kreische's claims: ''That is an untrue statement.''

For years, taxi companies have said the $6 charge was a way to try to recover the cost of leasing space at the airport's taxi rank.

The airport's taxi rank would now become free-flowing, Mr Kreische said, meaning companies would not be charged leases, just one-off fees.

Mr Kreische criticised the airport for the ''absolutely stupid, silly decision'' to raise pick-up and drop-off fees, which he said was taken without consultation. The result would be higher prices and unhappy passengers, he said.

The airport's property and commercial manager Mark Samways said in a statement: ''We are unable to discuss these confidential arrangements in detail but we assure you our commercial arrangements are benchmarked against, and are in line with, other international airports in New Zealand.''

The airport's fee rise should not be surprising. In its latest annual report, the airport corporation listed one objective as ''Grow non-aero revenue''. 

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