Shortly after the International Air Travel Association claimed that fee increases at airports would halt the recovery of air travel and harm international air connectivity, ACI Europe responded by saying the association had painted a flawed picture of the airport industry. .
Through a press release issued yesterday, October 4, ACI Europe confirmed that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had failed to assess the actual catastrophic situation of airports in Europe.
“By ordering freezes or systematic reductions in airport fees, it is clear that IATA is forcing airports into more financial distress exclusively for airlines. Freezing or lowering airport fees will not prevent airlines from exercising their pricing power over consumers and raising airfares” , as stated in a statement by ACI Europe.
Because of the fixed nature of costs, airports have not been able to reduce costs in parallel with revenues that have been constantly decreasing. According to the ACI, Europe’s airports saw revenue decline -60 percent in 2020, just one year after the COVID-19 pandemic, and -65 percent during the first six months of 2021.
In addition, ACI highlighted that just like airlines, airports have also recorded record losses during this pandemic crisis because the airports have not been subsidized by the government.
Thus, they had no other choice but to take on huge debt and market conditions, which increased the total financial debt of European airports by +200 percent compared to 2019, TheSchengen.com reports.
Regardless, although air traffic has been picking up since early June, the financial outlook has been bleak as most airports in Europe are going through an expensive recovery and weak revenue.
As a result, airports across Europe are now facing an investment crisis. It is expected that many of them will not be able to recover financially without raising fees unless the government of each country decides to step in and compensate the companies.
It should be remembered in the end that airlines can pay airport fees. Airlines only pay airports if they are in operation and only weeks after they collect revenue from passengers. Airlines are in a bad position to give us a lesson in safeguarding customer interests, when for months they have refused to refund passengers for missed flights, with some continuing to slow down to do so,” ACI Europe Managing Director Olivier Jankovic said.
In addition, Jankovi? stressed that a focus on investment in sustainable infrastructure is essential in the industry’s recovery, adding that there is a need for increased cooperation and long-term alignment.
>> ACI: Europe’s traffic down 76.9% compared to pre-pandemic levels, EU+ hardest-hit region