The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has condemned Spanish airport authority plans to raise charges as “irresponsible.”
Aena, which controls all 46 of Spain’s airports, plans to raise user charges by 5.5 per cent, a decision that IATA says “could damage Spain’s economic and employment recovery from COVID-19.”
The proposals presented to the Dirección General de Aviación Civil (DGAC; Spain’s equivalent to the Commission for Aviation Regulation) for approval include a request to increase charges by 5.5 per cent over five years, but IATA claims that an analysis of Aena’s situation could result in a 4 per cent reduction charges.
“The whole aviation industry is in crisis. Everybody needs to reduce costs and improve efficiency to repair the financial damage of COVID-19,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
Pre-pandemic, Aena declared €2.59 billion of dividends over the 2017-19 period, and it has several options to cover its losses.
“Aena can easily finance short-term losses without increasing costs to its customers,” added Walsh.
“It has an excellent credit rating to access financing. Its shareholders have been well-rewarded and must now share some of the pain. And, like the rest of the industry, it must look at operational efficiencies to lower costs, which are by no measure the cheapest in Europe.”