Starting September 1, carriers will start collecting airport construction fees with the sale of plane tickets. The fee will be listed as a separate item on the tickets, according to an official with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
People who booked tickets before August or who bought their tickets in August without paying the fee will be exempt, according CAAC’s implementation regulation.
The change is primarily administrative, since fee amounts -- 90 yuan (US$11) for international flights, 50 yuan (US$6) for domestic and 10 yuan for branch flights -- remain unchanged.
Passengers holding diplomatic passports on international, Hong Kong or Macao flights are exempt.
The new system should save time for passengers during check-in, said an official with China Southern Airlines. People will no longer have to wait in long lines during peak times to pay the construction fee.
Still, many passengers complain about the fee itself.
“The levy on airport construction should be annulled because all the airports are public facilities and were built with taxpayer money,” said passenger Wang You.
On March 1, 1992, China started to collect airport construction fees to maintain and upgrade airport fences, fire control, safety inspection and other facilities.
The change in collection method is CAAC’s latest step in implementing reforms allowing the market to play a bigger role in determining airfares, analysts said.
A regulation drafted by the National Development and Reform Commission and CAAC on the pricing of flight tickets took effect on April 20, giving more freedom for price fluctuations.
Airlines now use a base price to establish how much to charge for their tickets, within a given range. The current base price is 0.75 yuan (9 US cents) per person/kilometer, with a range of 25 percent up or 45 percent down permitted.
For short air routes between neighboring provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, the price of air tickets is allowed to float freely.
(China Daily September 1, 2004)