The Division of Customs has opted to stave off for an unmentioned amount of time the 700-percent increase in airport fees airlines have to pay per passenger every time they use the Francisco C. Ada-Saipan International Airport.
Department of Finance, the government agency that looks over the Division of Customs, told Saipan Tribune last week that they would delay the implementation of the airport fee hike and first seek comments.
According to Finance Secretary Larissa Larson, the $1 airport fee hike to $7 would be delayed.
“…Everything went through the proper process,” said Larson, who added that the division had the authority to propose such hike. “There were very few comments on [the hike]. [Last Thursday], I met with representatives of the airlines and we discussed it, so for now we ask for them to submit their comments in two weeks and we would examine [it],” she continued.
She noted that a final decision would be made after the submission of comments and that there was no specific timeline for the airport fee hike.
Larson said the fees have not been touched since the 1990s.
“Over the course of the last couple of years, the administration as a whole has been looking at all its regulations, all its fees and everything,” she said, adding that other fees such as drivers license fees, car registration fees, have also been studied as well.
The $7 airport fee was scheduled for implementation starting March 1, 2018. However, Larson said concerns brought by a number of the airlines encouraged the Division of Customs to delay the hikes.
“We’ve heard their concerns, and we are aware of the issues they’ve raised, so we would take that into account. We are partners with the airlines and we are all in this together,” she said, without specifying the concerns.
Larson noted that all airlines were given two weeks to submit their comments.