IATA Expresses Disappointment over Airport Security Levy

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The Association of International Air-Transportation Agency (IATA) has expressed disappointment over implementing the new airport security levy recently introduced at the Banjul International Airport (BIA) for inbound and outbound travelers coming into the Gambia.

IATA’s disappointment was contained in a letter dispatched to Fansu Bojang, Director General of Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) on Wednesday, 10th May 2023, where it describes the implementation of the new Airport Security Levy as a flaw, not aligned to ICAO user charges setting policies and principles espoused in Doc 9082.

“This serves as an acknowledgment to and receipt of the letter dated 29th March 2023 from The Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) concerning the implementation of revised passenger charges at Banjul International Airport. The letter’s contents are duly noted albeit with disappointment as the process followed is still flawed and not aligned to ICAO user charges setting policies and principles espoused in Doc 9082,” wrote Kashif Khalid, Regional Director Operations, Safety and Security – AME IATA Africa & the Middle East.

It added: “ICAO is further reiterating this per their State Letter 1, which calls for signatory States to respect these policies and was again reiterated at the Joint ICAO-IATA Africa Regional User Charges Workshop conducted in Dakar; Senegal, 13-14 March 2023, to which the esteemed DG of The Gambia CAA was in attendance.
During a side meeting held between IATA and the GCAA in Dakar, IATA shared a spreadsheet whereby financial data was to be populated for interrogation in a follow-up consultative meeting, which we anticipated to take place prior to finalization of any of the charges.” 

This has not been shared with IATA and operating airlines. It is also unclear where we can access the audited financial performance.”

IATA further acknowledges and appreciates the figures appended to the letter from the GCAA relative to this new Airport Security Levy, noting that the mere indication of the figures on the letter is not sufficient as the agency requires proper information on OPEX, CAPEX, and traffic developments.

“The fees are deemed to be too high and add to the already numerous charges and fees that have been imposed by The Gambia. In reality, these are “Immigration Charges” and therefore are discriminatory versus any person arriving in the Gambia by any other means of transport (for instance, car, bus, boat),” IATA disclosed in its letter to DG GCAA

It added: “Safety and security remain our number one priority that cannot be compromised, and we appreciate collaborative enhancements and efficiencies in processes and infrastructure developments, but in the absence of meaningful user consultation and transparent financial information, the airline industry is not in a position to evaluate and appreciate the cost-relation between the provision of the new safety services and the level and structure of related fees.”

IATA’s further stated that its position remains that the industry should not be charged for security as this is a State’s responsibility, and for the new Safety Fee and the PSC increase, the rationale behind the levels still needs to be provided as well as the breakdown of activities to be funded over the respective oversight areas.

“We are also yet to agree on the requested performance indicators that need to be put in place to measure the quality of service, productivity, and cost-effectiveness of the measures. We again implore The Gambia CAA to conduct a due and proper consultative process in alignment and adherence to the aviation industry principles. We remain at hand for further support and assistance,” Kashif Khalid, Regional Director of Operations, Safety, and Security – AME IATA Africa & the Middle East, noted in the dispatch to the GCAA.

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