/ 10 December 2009

Acsa eyes 133% tariff hike

The Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) has applied for a 132,9% tariff increase, it said in a statement on Thursday.

”Our tariff application is simply based upon the common financial principle of return on investment [ROI],” said Acsa executive finance director Priscillah Mabelane.

”Allowing Airports Company South Africa to levy the proposed tariff increase of 132,9% for the 2010/11 financial year will enable the company to reward its investors adequately for their investments,” she said.

”In terms of the application, the passenger service charge will increase from R42 to R99 on a single domestic trip.”

Mabelane said Acsa had warned the Independent Economic Regulator in the past that it would have to pre-fund infrastructure development, which would require sudden steep increases.

”At that time, Acsa expressed concern that the bulk of the developments would come on stream in early 2010, requiring a sudden, sharp increase in tariffs,” she said.

Mabelane expressed disappointment at Comair chief financial officer Yasas Sri-Chandana’s criticism of the tariff increase application.

Sri-Chandana, who is also a member of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa, showed ”a remarkable lack of understanding Acsa’s financial structure”.

Sri-Chandana expressed concern that the price increase would stifle growth in air travel in South Africa.

”Like Eskom, Acsa is calling on users of its airports to fund its financial shortfall,” he said, according to www.iafrica.com.

”In the past few years Acsa has made profit margins of over 24% and has paid billions of rands worth of dividends to its shareholders …

”Acsa feels that the impact on air ticket prices includes the passenger charge, landing fees and rentals, cumulatively amounting to R81 per passenger per single trip,” said Sri-Chandana.

Mabelane responded: ”The statements made by Sri-Chandana are yet another attempt to deflect attention from the fact that the airlines continue to deceive passengers into believing that ‘airport taxes’ accrue to Acsa only through an opaque ticketing system.

”In reality, the airlines get the lion’s share of the ‘airport taxes’. It is unfortunate that airlines continue to hone these fears to deflect attention from their own derelict practices,” she said. — Sapa