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IATA Applauds Spanish Government Decision to Refuse Increased Airport Fares

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has acknowledged the Spanish government’s decision to reject Aeropuerto Españoles y Navegación Aérea (AENA)’s proposal to offset €2.3 billion in losses from COVID-19 by raising airfares.

In a press release issued today, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that last year AENA submitted this proposal to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, in an effort to recover profits that were not collected due to the COVID-19 crisis, reports.

According to an announcement made last year on October 4, the two billion euro tariff increase confirmed by airports and the Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) could also lead to a tenfold increase if there is an official proposal to make the move.

Commenting on the situation, IATA Director-General Willie Walsh said at the time that such measures were unacceptable and should be stopped.

Shortly after the International Air Transport Association claimed that increased tariffs at airports would hamper the recovery of air travel, ACI responded by saying that the association had painted a wrong picture of the airport industry.

“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.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) press release issued today, as reflected in the 2020 financial statements and results for the first nine months of 2022, the impact on travel as a result of the pandemic situation has not had a significant impact on AENA’s financial sustainability.

Raphael Schwartzman, IATA Regional Vice President for Europe, also noted that they welcome the fact that the DGAC and the Department of Transportation have accepted the rejection of an unjustified request for a cost increase which would also risk restoring air travel.

In this regard, he noted, “This is a logical decision based on strong financial evidence, and sends a strong message to other airports and air navigation service providers who tend to take a similar approach, that such monopolistic behavior will not be accepted.” Overcoming this burden is not a way to encourage travel.

However, the current Spanish Airports Regulation Document (DORA) is considered by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as a support to restore air transport and stimulate tourism in a sustainable and predictable framework for the period 2022-2026.

“This framework, which also includes a fee freeze for the next five years, continues to guarantee future development needs and investments in Spain’s sustainable aviation infrastructure to enable connectivity and address future passenger demand,” reads the statement published by the International Air Transport Association.

However, President of Airports Council International (ACI) for Europe, Olivier Jankovic, said in early November 2021 that European airports were expected to demonstrate another year of revenue losses which also resulted from lower costs and accumulated debt.

He also argued that the growth and dominance of low-cost airlines – led by Ryanair and Wizzair – meant unprecedented competitive pressures on European airports.

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