Private fliers told to use the back door
By LEE McDOUGALL
WHEN you're travelling and stop for a meal and toilet break, you don't expect to be hit with a $110 service fee, but this is exactly what happened when five visitors flew in to Coffs Harbour Regional Airport on Saturday.
The four passengers and pilot stopped to refuel the aircraft on their way from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast. While here they wanted to grab lunch from the terminal cafe.
Unfortunately, this is where their short stop in Coffs Harbour left a bitter taste in their mouth.
"I've been flying in to Coffs Harbour for five years and often stay overnight or for a couple of days," the pilot said.
"But I'll think twice before flying into this airport again."
The $22 per person service fee is charged by Coffs Harbour City Council to anyone using the main terminal, passenger airlines included. It is an $11 fee each way ? going into the terminal or going from the terminal out on to the tarmac.
According to airport manager, Bevan Edwards, the service fee was a 'last resort' attempt to encourage aviators to use the general aviation section of the airport, where there is no fee, or to go through the 'fixed-base operator', Coffs Coast Jet Centre.
"I really don't know how to deal with this particular issue other than to suggest to the pilot that the next time he flies in to Coffs Harbour he can either ring the airport operator (on 0418 869 285) for advice, go through the Coffs Coast Jet Centre, who will charge a negotiated fee, or use the general aviation section of the airport, which is free of charge," Mr Edwards said.