The authorities appear to be addicted to new taxes. Apart from the tourist tax debate, the Spanish airlines are fighting the Spanish airport authority AENA over an increase in airport taxes. Yesterday in Palma the chairman of the Spanish Association of Airlines, Felipe Navio, accused AENA of being “unrealistic” with its hike in airport taxes. Navio said that airport taxes account for a quarter of airlines' operating costs and the price of a ticket. He added that considering the difficulties airlines are having to overcome in the wake of September 11, the rise in airport taxes “simply does not make sense.” Navio pointed out that last year AENA's revenue was 150 million euros, while the airlines were forced to reduce operations and staff. The new increased airport taxes were introduced at the start of the year and Navio said that it clearly demonstrated the large rift and conflict of interests between AENA and the airlines. Navio said that, in particular, in the case of tourist airports such as Palma, airport costs have to be kept to a minimum to enable the tourist industry as a whole to be as competitive as possible. But, in the wake of further airport tax rises, Navio said that there is a large difference between taxes in Spain and in Greece and Turkey for example; allowing them to be more competitive. He also criticised the high costs of the handling and ground services at Spanish airports, where just two companies have the monopoly, adding an extra 10 per cent to operating costs.