May 10, 2021

Guyana: Global airlines body calls for immediate talks with Govt., CJIA on “imposed” fees

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From Kaieteur News

IATA says that the situation has forced airlines to manually collect fees from passengers… not a good experience

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is calling for immediate dialogue with the management of Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation (CJIAC) and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure of Guyana, on the implementation process related to the increase in the government-mandated Airport Security Fee and the introduction of a new Passenger Service Charge at the airport.

The powerful association has almost 300 airlines as its members.

In a strongly worded statement yesterday, IATA said that the continued refusal by the airport operator to cooperate with IATA on both the proper calculation and implementation of such fees and charges, has now led to a situation where airlines have been forced to manually collect the additional amounts from both arriving and departing passengers.
CJIA’s management, which operates the country’s biggest airport at Timehri, wrote the airlines that are coming to Guyana earlier this year, signaling its intent to introduce new fees come April 1st. The fees would have seen passengers paying $4,000 more on every seat. The fees were to cover costs for expansion done to the airport. However, the airlines had complained to IATA, which wrote CJIA’s management in January asking for more time and consultations.

The IATA correspondence had been sent to CJIAC’s chief, Ramesh Ghir and several of the senior management officials.

IATA represents some 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic.

“It is completely unacceptable that passengers are being inconvenienced in such a manner. This is a direct result of the airport’s management refusal to engage with IATA in a process, which is standard practice across the globe. As a consequence, our member airlines have unfortunately no choice other than to manually collect the additional fees and charges,” said Peter Cerda, IATA’s Regional Vice President of the Americas.

IATA, in a statement yesterday, said it has worldwide standards in place enabling airlines to collect government-imposed fees, service charges and taxes as part of an airline ticket.

“These are then transferred to the respective governments. This has provided a smoother travel experience for passengers, by eliminating the former practice whereby many governments manually collected some of these fees and taxes at airports.”

Furthermore, IATA said it is also seeking clarity from the airport operator on how the fees and charges have been calculated, as again, international standards set out by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s Document 9082, were not followed.

IATA said that it understands that airports need to recover their investment costs. This must, however, be achieved through a collaborative and transparent process, ensuring that imposed fees are proportionate to the planned expenditure.

“This can best be achieved in partnership between all sectors of the aviation industry, thereby unlocking the true potential of a country and its people. As such, we urgently call on the management of Cheddi Jagan International Airport to engage into the requested dialogue, so passengers are no longer inconvenienced, and member airlines can return to their normal business. This will ensure the sustainability of the aviation sector in Guyana and facilitate the growth of tourism and trade, thereby contributing to a vibrant and healthy economy,” commented Cerda.

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