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Landing fees do more harm than good, pilots and airport tenants say

While city council mulls over landing fees proposed for the airport, more pilots and tenants are telling them it’s a bad idea.

Orla Jensen wrote a letter to council last week, pointing out that many tenants and aircraft owners at the Campbell River airport hate the idea of adding landing fees. Only two other airports in BC have similar fees, Terrace and Boundary Bay, but Jensen points out they offer services that Campbell River does not.

Jensen estimates the airport will lose at least 25% of its general traffic if the fees go ahead. According to the airport, 60% of traffic is from small piston-engine aircraft which “make no direct financial contribution to the airport’s operations.”

He points out that Campbell River should be promoted as a destination airport because of its location between Alaska and the USA, and the proposed fee will scare away tourism.

The airport is proposing charges of $10 for domestic flights and $15 for international flights.

A report from city staff defending the fees points out that while other airports hide fees in fuel surcharges, Campbell River charges no fuel concession fee.

The airport offers an annual registration fee for locally-based aircraft, it’s currently $120 and will increase to $200 next year.

Council is scheduled to give final approval to the fee bylaw , or reject it, on April 11. If approved, it could take effect on May 1.

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