Airlines on both sides of the Tasman have taken a swipe at steep new Airways fees which they say fits the pattern of monopolistic behaviour common among airports in this country and Australia.
The air traffic control provider will raise charges by 21 per cent or $52 million over the next three years - while across the Tasman its equivalent is cutting charges by 2 per cent.
The airline lobby group A4ANZ says the Airways hike highlights the problem airlines face when relying on the goodwill of a monopoly supplier to keep costs reasonable.
"They don't have a competitor breathing down their neck like we [airlines] all do," said A4ANZ chief executive Alison Roberts.
The group comprises Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, Qantas, Jetstar and Rex Regional Express.
It is pushing for tighter control of monopoly operators to encourage "genuine" consultation with stakeholders, ensure standards of service quality are met, and linked to any increased charges or seek more efficient ways to operate.
Roberts said Airways and airports could consult and then set prices how they wanted.
"It's part of that monopoly position."
Airways has said prices are rising to cover investment in new equipment and systems.
General manager of air traffic services Tim Boyle says the industrial environment was ''challenging'' and external economic factors had impacted final prices.
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These included lower air traffic volume growth and higher inflation that puts pressure on operating costs.
Airways says the $52.3 million over three years will put up charges by $31.3m in year one, $11.5m in year two and $9.6m in year three.
In spite of the increases It says that Airways charges compare favourably to other ANSPs internationally, including Airservices Australia and NavCanada.
In the 2018 financial year Airways made a profit of $27.2 million on revenue of $214m.
But Roberts says the new charges were hitting as airlines face higher costs themselves, including fuel.
She said there were welcome signs the Australian Government was committed to keeping aviation costs down.
"It is timely that the Government is considering the regulation of airports, because, under the current regime, our privatised monopoly airports are able to slug airlines and other airport users such as car rental companies with charges that are some of the highest in the world, with the consumer ultimately left to pay the bill. We know the airports have no appetite to change this themselves.''
Airports on Australia's east coast have profit margins of between 72.6 per cent and 80.9 per cent while margins in New Zealand range between 44.2 per cent at Wellington and 74 per cent at Auckland.
Roberts says airport pricing need to be linked to service which is poor at some airports.
''In all of these monopoly environments where competitor airlines are trying to operate you need to make sure that regulatory settings support a pricing and quality environment. It's not about airlines pulling out its about whether they can add or innovate.''
Her organisation would urge in submissions on New Zealand's Civil Aviation Bill that pricing and service quality measures be imposed on monopoly operators in the aviation sector.
Electricity network companies can face hefty penalties for breaches of quality standards, such as when power interruptions go longer than agreed duration.