Johannesburg - Kulula.com's announcement on Wednesday that
it was rising tariffs by 35% was "jumping the gun", the Airports
Company of SA said.
"Their comment is based on a letter whose validity is
in question," Acsa spokesperson Solomon Makgale said.
Kulula.com had complained about the increase, saying it came
at a time when average airfares were declining and fuel prices increasing.
"Budget-sensitive travellers will be the hardest hit,
as half of airfares will now go towards Acsa's airport charges",
However, Makgale said they had not increased their tariffs since
last year after they challenged the percentage increase granted by the airports
regulating committee for 2010/11.
They had been granted a 40.7% increase last year, but said
it was less than the 132% they needed, so they took the matter to court. The
court set aside the tariffs and ordered a regulating committee to submit the
tariff adjustment to the minister of transport for consideration and approval.
The minister set up a task team to independently asses the
proposed permission they required and advise him. The minister then asked the
regulating committee to consider concerns raised by the task team and resubmit
a revised permission by the end of February 2011.
After that, Acsa received a letter on May 20, 2011 on the
adjusted tariffs. They asked whether the regulating committee had submitted a
new permission to the minister for approval.
"We were made to believe that the Regulating Committee
In the meantime, any increase was still on "hold"
and Acsa still charging last year's fees.
Current charges are: for domestic R57.02, regional
(Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland), R117.54, other international centres
R155.26, all excluding VAT.
Makgale said the statement by Kulula.com was an attempt to
obscure the fact that airlines had considerable costs, "disguised as
so-called 'airport charges', hidden in their overall ticket price".