Caaz to collect air travel fees

HARARE - The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) is now directly collecting air travel fees, with reports saying Air Zimbabwe is failing to remit the funds.

The air travel industry regulator yesterday said the fees — passenger service charge (PSC) and Aviation Infrastructure Development Fund (AIDF) — were supposed to be “ordinarily collected by airlines on its behalf for future remittance.

“However, due to some policy changes, it has become necessary for the Caaz to collect the PSC and Aidf payments directly from Air Zimbabwe passengers,” Caaz said.

The new policy affects Air Zimbabwe only, which Caaz said their tickets will not include the PSC and AIDF fees with effect from November 1, 2014.

According to sources, the PSC and AIDF levies were included in Air Zimbabwe’s ticketing system, but the financially troubled airline was not remitting the funds to Caaz.

The sources said Caaz could not pursue legal action against Air Zimbabwe as they are both government owned enterprises.

Efforts to get a comment from Caaz’s general manager David Chawota were fruitless while Air Zimbabwe’s acting chief executive Edmund Makona’s mobile number was not reachable.

Caaz introduced the levies in 2012 as part of strategies to assist in boosting income for improvement of the terminals.

Passengers travelling on Air Zimbabwe’s international flights are required to pay $50 each for the two levies while those on domestic routes are charged $15.

Caaz, which is mandated to develop civil aviation and promote its safe, regular and efficient use inside and outside Zimbabwe, also provides air navigation services as well as regulating the aviation industry and facilitating the provision of air services among others.

This comes as government plans to expand Harare International Airport in anticipation of increased traffic.

Foreign airlines, which had abandoned the Zimbabwe route between 1999 and 2003 due to macroeconomic instability, have since 2009 been scrambling to fly into the country.

Also, Caaz has said it is targeting to have at least 40 airlines flying into the country by 2018.

“We are going to pursue the airport’s original design and the associated expansion. This involves the expansion of the international terminal building and the upgrading of the domestic terminal,” said Chawota.

Aviation experts say the planned expansion could cost more than $400 million and could take up to a decade, in the circumstances.

Chawota said Caaz is looking at the “construction of two runways and two terminals”.

A cargo village is also expected to be constructed to cater for the handling of freight.

Caaz is currently carrying out expansion works at Victoria Falls International Airport to accommodate bigger aircraft.

The expansion budget is $150 million.

 

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