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Posted - 15 May 2023 :  20:18:11  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
International Air Transport Association rejects new charges at Banjul Airport
May 15, 2023

By Tabora Bojang

The International Airport Transport Association (IATA) has said the process followed by Gambian authorities to increase passenger charges at the Banjul Airport is “flawed” and “not aligned” to the user charges policies and principles of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The Gambia Civil Aviation Authority announced in January this year that it has received the go-ahead from the government to increase charges at the airport, which led to increase in the passenger service charge from £10 to £15, security charges from £1.50 to $25 per arriving and $25 per departing passenger and the introduction of a passenger safety levy of $5 per departing passenger.

The management said these are necessitated to enable recovery of “massive investments” at the airport, support “enhancement of aviation security” and provide “adequate security.”

But in a letter addressed to the head of the GCAA dated 10 May 2023 and seen by The Standard, IATA’s regional director of operations, safety and security for Africa, Kashif Khalid, said the fees are “deemed to be too high and add to the already numerous charges and fees that have been imposed by The Gambia”.

IATA said it engaged GCAA at the Africa Regional User Charges Workshop in Dakar in March 2023 at which it shared a spreadsheet with GCAA where financial data was to be populated for interrogation, followed by consultative meeting prior to finalisation of any of the new charges.

“This has not been shared with IATA and the airlines, and it is also not clear where we can access the audited financial performance. Whilst we appreciate the figures appended to the letter from the GCAA, this is nonetheless insufficient as we require proper information on operating expenditure, capital expenditure and traffic developments.

“The fees are deemed to be too high and add to the already numerous charges and fees that have been imposed by The Gambia. In reality, these are ‘immigration charges’ and therefore are discriminatory versus any person arriving in The Gambia by any other means of transport (for instance car, bus, boat). Safety and security remain our number one priority and cannot be compromised, and we appreciate collaborative enhancements and efficiencies in processes and infrastructure developments, but in the absence of meaningful user consultation and transparent financial information, the airline industry is not in a position to evaluate and appreciate the cost-relation between the provision of the new safety services and the level and structure of related fees.

“IATA’s position remains that the industry should not be charged for security as this is a state’s responsibility and for the new safety fee and the PSC increase, the rationale behind the levels still need to be provided, as well as the breakdown of the activities to be funded over the respective oversight areas. We are also yet to agree on the requested performance indicators that need to be put in place to measure the quality of service, productivity, and cost effectiveness of the measures. We again implore The GCAA to conduct a due and proper consultative process in alignment and adherence to the aviation industry principles,” the IATA letter stated.

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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