Airfare tax


I RECENTLY purchased tickets to fly from Port Moresby to Alotau and return.
The all up price was K1,080 of which K642 was designated as tax, and a series of six different tax amounts were set out on the ticket, to total this figure of K642.
The taxes were 131 per cent of the price of the fare component of the ticket.
This is both extortion and madness.
One can suggest it limits greenhouse gas emissions but it also seriously constrains only.
It is necessary for the government to charge passengers for the use of the airport and to oversee safe flying in the country.
But there can be absolutely no justification for this level of taxes.
Furthermore, it is quite apparent that the revenue raised is not being spent on providing the services that travellers deserve.
The treatment dished out to passengers using the Port Moresby domestic terminal is barely on a par with livestock at an abattoir.
The last two visits to the departure lounge I noted that both toilets were locked, obviously out of order and not being fixed.
Gurney Airport is one of the better ones.
Nothing good can be said about ramshackle Nadzab, but last time I was there the toilets were passably clean and working.
The ‘new’ terminal at Madang is now about 20 odd years old and firstly it is no longer really big enough for today’s traffic and secondly I doubt if K10 has been spent on maintenance over many years.
Port Moresby International Terminal is the government’s show piece, but one wonders why it took so many months to finally repair the escalator and why the leak in the roof over the camp has not been repaired.
There are two flights a day at least POM-GUR-POM say 120 people each way/per day/ every day of the year, this indicates the tax take amounts to some K19,000.
There are I think, nine flights daily POM-LAE-POM, roughly 1,000 people fly each way daily on this service, this would indicate a tax take of the order of K100 million, And there all of flights to the other destinations.
All of this mountain of tax money must go somewhere, but it is clear, little of it is going where it should.
That the politicians, and in particular, the members tasked with being the civil aviation minister (regularly changed) have been asleep at the wheel, at least annually, the public servants present to the minister a budget proposal which includes an increase in the taxes in line with some index figure they have dreamt up, just as they do with the liquor excise.
The reality of their proposal is lost on the minister, he flags it through.
Remember too, politicians and public servants do not usually pay for their own travel, the taxpayers do.
So after many years of this practice, the tax burden has reached a level that overwhelms the travelling public.
Because the tax is levied surreptitiously and collected by the airlines it is the airlines that are blamed for the hideously expensive airfares and the money raised is not spent to provide appropriate facilities.

R.W Bolling

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