CONTROVERSIAL landing fees at Armidale Regional Airport will take a back seat until August.
The fees would see aircraft operators pay $460 a year for each aircraft they own over five.
Armidale Regional Council mayor Simon Murray said council decided to hold back until more discussions were had with the stakeholders.
“Some were not clear on what our proposal was, so we thought let’s not rush it – take it off the table and take the time,” he said.
“I think the main thing is the number of aircraft, we have five aircraft exempt but the documentation included some of the draft proposal that went out in submissions – that’s where the confusion was.”
Technically, council has the power to apply the fees retrospectively if it votes to introduce them in August.
But, Cr Murray said it’s unlikely.
“I think the plan is we will apply them as of the time we vote, it might be the beginning of September,” he said.
Operators at the airport have threatened to leave if landing fees are introduced, claiming the lack of fees drove them to bring their business to Armidale in the first place.
A local business has started a petition against the fees which has garnered 118 signatures, concerned a lack of competition at the airport will drive up costs for the consumer.
Cr Margaret O’Connor thanked councillors for holding off on the decision on Wednesday.
“Thanks for deferring and allowing us to deal with stakeholders in a constructive way,” she said.
Council will revisit the landing fees in August.
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