Our responsibilities include assessing notifications of proposed price increases from Sydney Airport in relation to regional air services and proposed price increases from Airservices Australia, which provides air traffic control and aviation fire-fighting and rescue services to airports and airlines.
The price notification provisions are contained in Part VIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and apply only to ‘notified services’ and ‘declared firms’.
The object of these provisions is to have price surveillance applied only to those markets where, in the view of the Minister, competitive pressures are not sufficient to achieve efficient prices and protect consumers.
A declared firm is required to notify the ACCC of proposed increases in the price of notified goods or services in certain circumstances. The ACCC must then assess the proposed price and either:
- not object to the increases
- not object to increases lower than those proposed
- object to the proposed increases.
Airservices Australia is a government owned organisation. It provides air traffic control and aviation fire-fighting and rescue services to airports and airlines. These services were declared under variation to Declaration no.66 and are notified services for the purposes of Part VIIA of the Act.
Declaration no.66 was remade as the Competition and Consumer (Airservices Australia Prices Surveillance) Declaration 2018 on 4 July 2018 due to Declaration no.66 sunsetting on 1 October 2018.
The effect of this declaration is to require Airservices Australia to notify the ACCC of proposed increases in the prices charged for these services. The ACCC is responsible for assessing proposals by Airservices Australia to increase charges for these services.
See: Airports & aviation projects for Airservices Australia price notifications.
Since 1 July 2002 the only airport services subject to prices notification under Part VIIA of the Act and price caps are regional air services at Sydney Airport.
Aeronautical services and facilities provided by Sydney airport to regional air services are declared under Competition and Consumer (Price Notifications—Aeronautical Services to NSW Regional Airlines) Declaration 2019, which commences on 1 July 2019 and ceases on 30 June 2022. This Declaration replaces the previous Declaration no. 94. This means that Sydney Airport must provide a price notification to the ACCC prior to increasing its prices for those services.
In undertaking its assessment of price notifications provided by Sydney Airport, the ACCC follows a direction made under section 95ZH of the Act to give special consideration to the Government’s policy.
Competition and Consumer (Prices Surveillance—Aeronautical Services to NSW Regional Airlines) Direction 2019 provides a pricing criterion to facilitate continuing access to Sydney Airport by operators of regional air services. This criterion is:
- the total revenue-weighted percentage increase in prices in a given financial year should not exceed the percentage change between the sum of the quarterly Consumer Price Index numbers for the reference year and the year preceding the reference year
- where the reference year is the 12 month period ending on 31 March immediately before the start of the given financial year.
The Direction commences on July 1 2019 and ceases on 30 June 2022. It replaces the previous Direction no. 35.
See: Airports & aviation projects for Sydney Airport price notifications.