With airline operating costs on the rise and decline this year in air passenger traffic in Europe, the Palma-based Association of Spanish Airlines (AECA) want government help in reducing airport taxes. The Association has welcomed plans to remodel and expand the country's key airports, such as Palma, so that near double passenger loads can be handled by the year 2015, but AECA would also like to see central government and the Spanish Airport and Air Traffic Control Authority, AENA, looking to improve the situation in the short term. The President of AECA, Felipe Navio, said yesterday that Spanish airlines are this year looking at both a deficit in passengers and profit so he is hoping for a positive response from the government. The airlines' financial year comes to a close at the end of next month and Navio said that the past 11 months have been financially hampered by the strong US dollar (all aviation operating costs, landing fees and fuel are paid in dollars) and a rise in airport taxes.

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