Fees could crush Lismore Airport

A PROPOSED five-fold increase in parking fees for regional airlines at Sydney Airport could sound the death knell for Lismore Airport, a Lismore councillor has warned.

Cr Simon Clough said if the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approved the increase it would have serious repercussions for the council's investment in Lismore Airport, which is used heavily by Rex Airlines – the nation's largest regional carrier.

“It could be the death knell if they (Sydney Airport) are allowed ... this sort of increase,” Cr Clough said.

“A five-fold increase would have to be distributed across all of Rex's routes, but you can imagine it would have a significant impact on ticket prices.”

Cr Clough warned this could result in falling patronage at Lismore Airport.

“It might come that nobody wants to use Lismore Airport, which the council has a huge investment in,” Cr Clough said.

The Macquarie Bank-owned Sydney Airport Corporation wants to increase Rex's aircraft parking charges from $700,000 a year to an estimated $3.7 million.

This is on top of a planned rise in aeronautical charges for regional airlines that would cost Rex an estimated $130,000 a year.

Cr Clough will propose a motion at next week's council meeting that it write to the Federal minister expressing council's ‘grave concerns' about the proposal.

In the meeting's business papers the council's manager of commercial services, Phil Klepzig, warns the increase would lead to the Lismore service not being viable.

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