Friday, October 11, 2013

Fees and Fees

It was known from the beginning that we would be facing some rather stiff fees, either levied by different government departments who under stand how to rip off visitors to their countries or by greedy handling agents. It's an amazing fact of our world tour that we expect the total of such fees to exceed the combined total of both hotel accommodation and aircraft fuel costs.

With the above in mind, we were nevertheless amazed at the total amount requested for our stay in Fiji. For the pleasure of landing there only once, parking for three days and departing again, the original fee requested amounted to more than 7,000 US Dollars - even for our small aircraft. It took three days of ongoing negotiations and threats to expose their practices internationally, which resulted in various reductions of the bill, but we eventually came to the end of the line and were faced with having to pay a total of 3,221 US Dollars. This was made up of 900 USD for customs fees (no special call-out), 994 USD for airport charges, 427 USD for health and quarantine, and finally 900 USD for general handling fees. Amazing - there is simply no limit for greedy governments and handling agents.

While for the most part, payment of such fees is expected either in cash or by credit card, some countries prefer to send a bill afterwards. Such was the case with Russia, which had already sent us separate bills for fuel and handling. Thinking that all was done and settled, I received yet another bill for "Air Navigation Charges", amounting to 1,421 US Dollars. I queried the bill as follows:

Thank you, the invoice has been received. I am however shocked about the amount. Please note that our aircraft is very small with a max total weight of only 1850 kg.

In turn, I received the following reply:

Thank you for confirmation of invoice receipt. Regarding your shock, I can refer you to RUSSIAN AIP (see attachment), which is described all nuances of our billing. In fact, you’re a/c have modest MTOW, but regarding our current billing for you, quite great sum is caused by great total distance of your flights as 1953 km. Be more better, that you read RUSSIAN AIP before your flight and thereby, you can avoid any shocks… I hope that we can a bit relax you by our above comment. Please, kindly pay us for current invoice in USD.

Now, who can argue with that? We're just glad that we only travelled a "great total distance" of 1953 kms. Some crews travelled for around 5,000 kms in Russian airspace ...

1 comment:

  1. Ihr Lieben, I hope the laugh was worth the money... And the laugh helped relax you, even if the explanation did not. All the best for the further legs of your trip. We look forward to more amusement from your side of the world. Hugs and best wishes. Helen and Andreas


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