Fears for Alderney over air freight charges

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Fears for Alderney over air freight charges

Post by GD on Mon 21 Feb 2011, 6:18 pm

There have already been concerns that rises in air freight charges could affect postal and newspaper services in Guernsey, and now there are fears for Alderney.

Guernsey States are proposing to put a three pence charge on every kilo of air freight.

That could possibly mean newspapers coming in by sea, and arriving a day late in Guernsey.

But Aurigny's Managing Director thinks it is more likely that Alderney will suffer because it would mean charges at both Guernsey airport and Alderney airport, therefore doubling the financial impact.

Malcolm Hart fears that if the charges are introduced, air frieght will stop being used by services like Guernsey Post.

Early most mornings the daily papers and the mail plane arrive in Guernsey. They pay the usual airport charges, which do not include any payment for freight. But with the States' Public Services Department told to make more money out of the harbour and airport, this could change.

The department's proposal is to bring in a 3.4p air freight import charge on every kilo of freight coming in or leaving from Guernsey Airport. Their prediction is that it would bring in around a £170,000 worth of revenue per year.

However, there are concerns about the impact this could have on Alderney services.

Malcolm said: "I'm hugely concerned about the impact on Alderney because the charges actually double. Because it's three point four pence per kilo per arrival it applies at both Guernsey and Alderney so because the papers and the mail come into Guernsey and then go onto Alderney the charges are actually doubled for Alderney and there's an even greater chance that Alderney will reject those charges and just take stuff by sea."

Malcolm thinks it is highly likely that if the charge is brought in Alderney will stop using air freight. That would mean everything coming by sea and arriving later - but would also result in the airports losing all the revenue from those flights, leaving them worse off than they are now. He wants Guernsey's States to reject the proposals - something Guernsey Post agrees with.

Boley Smillie, Guernsey Post Chief Executive, said: "It really doesn't make sense. We've got mail coming in from the UK, which we then turn around and sent off to Alderney. We've not been advised in terms of how these charges will be applied, but sending mail to Alderney is already very expensive and anything that makes it worse would be hugely detrimental."

The States will debate the Public Services Department's proposals at the end of March - and the Alderney representatives will no doubt have something to say about them. (from CTV)

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