A new charge on airline passengers entering the terminal at Tauranga Airport looks set to be introduced next year.
The levy coincides with a growth boom at the airport that will see Air New Zealand flights boosted to 94 a week from November 1 - a jump of 21 flights a week.
Tauranga City Council this week agreed to a new passenger aircraft fees regime comprising a mix of aircraft weight-based charges plus a new terminal charge for incoming passengers - starting at $1.52 per person.
The fees would be tested by a public consultation process this month before the newly-elected council made a final decision.
A report to Tuesday's meeting detailed how a "base terminal charge" of $1.52 per incoming passenger would be payable from January 1 next year. An additional "terminal development charge" of $1.95 per passenger would be levied once the planned $4.5 million extension of the terminal was completed in 2018.
Passenger operators like Air New Zealand would be levied a "base airfield landing charge" of $6.90 per tonne of maximum certified take-off weight for aircraft that exceeded three tonnes.
For ease of administration, Air New Zealand has agreed to add the passenger terminal fee to ticket prices and would then pay the money to the council.
Councillors were told that Tauranga Airport charges were among the lowest of New Zealand's regional airports.
Airport manager Ray Dumble told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend that the growth in flights from 73 to 94 a week was really good news for Tauranga. It included an additional flight to Christchurch, lifting that service to three direct flights a day.
The biggest beneficiary of the extra flights would be Auckland, with an earlier flight than the current first arrival of 9am, plus filling a hole in the afternoon service to Tauranga.
Mr Dumble said it was nearly all based on the Q-300 50-seater aircraft, with the flexibility that as a scheduled flight was filled, Air New Zealand was nimble enough to upgrade the flight to a 70-seater ATR aircraft.
Air New Zealand was so confident about the future of Tauranga Airport that the terminal upgrade would include enlarging the airline's Koru Lounge from 120sq m to 350sq m. This work would be funded by the airline and was not part of the rest of the $4.5m extension.
Mr Dumble said people's propensity to fly was increasing although compared with other cities, Tauranga's figures were still lower.
''There is room for more growth.''
He was still firming up final figures with Air New Zealand on the terminal expansion.
''What is significant is that whatever it is, it will pay for itself and not come from rates.''
The first student intake into the new downtown tertiary campus in 2019 would further boost airport usage.
''Students and staff were big users of air transport,'' Mr Dumble said.
Rationale for Tauranga Airport's $4.5 million expansion
- Growing passenger numbers
- Improving security
- Areas for new regional carriers