Departures from Changi Airport to cost more for passengers

BOTH the passenger service and security fee as well as the aviation levy imposed on passengers departing from Changi Airport will increase from Nov 1, announced the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Changi Airport Group (CAG) in a joint statement on Thursday (Sep 15).

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has questioned the timing of the hikes, given the nascent recovery of the regional aviation market.

The passenger service and security fee will be raised from the current S$35.40 in steps: to S$40.40 on Nov 1, S$43.40 on Apr 1, 2023, and to S$46.40 in 2024, said the statement by CAAS and CAG.

The aviation levy for passengers departing from Changi Airport will increase from S$6.10 to S$8.00 on Nov 1, and stay at that rate for 2023 and 2024. Passengers arriving at Changi Airport as well as transfer and transit passengers do not need to pay the levy.

With the increases, the total fees and levies paid by passengers departing from Changi Airport for tickets issued from Nov 1, 2022 will increase from S$52.30 currently, to S$59.20 for those travelling from Nov 1, 2022 to Mar 31, 2023, and subsequently to S$62.20 for those travelling from Apr 1, 2023 to Mar 31, 2024, and S$65.20 for those travelling from Apr 1, 2024 to Mar 31, 2025.

The passenger service and security fee was to increase to S$37.90 in 2021 and S$40.40 in 2022, but these planned increases were suspended because of the pandemic.

Iata's regional vice-president for Asia-Pacific Philip Goh said in a media statement that the pause of the planned increase in charges should have, ideally, been maintained. He pointed out that international passenger demand in the region in July 2022 was only about 36 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, lagging behind other regions which are already seeing more than 70 per cent.

"Any additional cost burden at this stage will impact airlines' financial position negatively. From that perspective, while we understand the cost pressures facing infrastructure providers and regulators, the timing of the reinstatement of these increases (to what was originally planned) is less than ideal," Goh said.

He added that aviation hubs such as Singapore must ensure they remain cost-efficient in order to maintain their attractiveness to airline operators.

"We hope the next regulatory review of these charges in 2024 will keep in mind a need for moderation and improvements when considering any further increase in aviation charges."

The fees and levies will go towards CAG's operations and current infrastructure upgrading of terminals and future development plans, and the air hub development and regulatory functions of the CAAS. This is the first adjustment to the aviation levy, which was introduced 13 years ago in 2009 at S$6.10.

The landing, parking and aerobridge charges for all flights operating at Changi Airport will increase by 2 per cent on Nov 1 and increase by another 1 per cent each year on Apr 1, 2023 and Apr 1, 2024 as announced earlier.

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