New Zealand Pilots Oppose Fee Hikes

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New Zealand aviation groups are lining up in opposition to major increases in fees for obtaining and maintaining a pilot's license. The one-time "issuance fee" for a pilot's license is going up from $55 to $230 but it's the new "medical service application fee" that is raising the collective blood pressure of the pilot population. Starting in November, pilots will have to pay a flat $313 any time their medical fitness is assessed by the Civil Aviation Administration. For commercial pilots past 40 that's every six months for single-pilot operations. It's not just the pilot fees that are going up, though. The CAA charge-out rate for audit operations will go from $135 an hour to $208 an hour in November and will be $284 an hour by the end of 2014. In all, more than 150 fees are being increased.

Aviation groups claim their members are being made to cover inefficiencies in the way the CAA operates. "If they had an efficient administrative system working in their medical unit -- in other words, internet-based filing -- then they wouldn't have a massive number of people handling bits of paper that inevitably get lost," Irene King, CEO of the Aviation Industry Association, told stuff.co.nz