If you a passenger travelling between Australia's two busiest airports Sydney and Melbourne on a B737 five dollars is the charge levied by Airservices Australia for its services.
Airservices Australia is a the Government owned provider of Air Traffic Control, Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting Service, Pilot Information as well as the maintainer of Aviation Navigation Aids and Surveilance Systems. The charge in the terminal area is based on the aircraft type and is levied for services provided within the terminal areas, which is usually a 40 mile radius of an airport with a terminal control unit. The cost is levied on the Airline Operator who then pass on the cost to customer as part of the charge for the ticket. In July 2009 the charge for a B737 to travel through both the Melbourne and Sydney terminal areas was just a tick under five dollars per passenger.
What does the passenger get for five dollars? First of all, terminal radar systems to assist Air Traffic Control to not only move aircraft in, out and around other aircraft in the busy terminal airspace. ATC also have surface radar at Melbourne and Sydney to keep track of aircraft on the ground. The money is also used to pay the Air Traffic Controllers who use these surveilence systems. Part of the funds are used for the provision of the Fire Service. Part of the money is used to fund some of the corporate overheads. Given that Airservices Australia in the last year made a profit of 50 million dollars on revenue of 800 million dollars for all its activities some of the money ends up in the pockets of the sole shareholder, the Commonwealth of Australia. Part of the profit is retained by Airservices Australia to invest in equipment to continue providing its vital service.
As a comparison, the charge levied by the Airport operator to use their facility is about 20 dollars per B737 passenger. The charge for security at these two airports is about 3 dollars 50 cents per passenger.