Madrid.— The National Airports Authority (AENA) claimed yesterday that the result of increased landing fees forecast in the 2013 State budget will be a hike of just 1.4 euros per air ticket.

The Airports Authority's calculations have run into conflict with forecasts made by the International Air Transport Agency (IATA) which says the impact of the landing fees increase will mean tickets will be as much as 6 percent dearer and that as many as 2.9 million passengers will be dissuaded from travelling at all.

The news was given yesterday by Rafael Catala, the Secretary of State for Infrastructure during his appearance before a Public Works Committee in Congress in Madrid held to firm up National Budget figures for next year. Airport landing fees are set to rise by around 7 percent in 2013. Catalá said that despite the increase in fees, taxes which are demanded from airlines using Spanish airports are 4 percent cheaper than the European Union average, and that even after the higher fees are in place next year, AENA will not be able to cover its service costs, “thus putting operators at risk.” Catalá said that as the law stands at the moment, the government is permitted to increase landing fees on 1st January, 2013 using figures based on the Consumer Price Index plus a permitted additional 5 percent.

Taxes per passenger will be reduced by 20 percent in relation to those travellers who are using Spanish airports for connecting flights, confirmed the Public Works Committee.

Airports which work seasonally due to the tourist industry such as the Balearic and Canary Islands will pay 20% less airport taxes during the “low” season and will be financially encouraged to open new routes through tax relief for a period of two years.