STAFF REPORTER MADRID

AIRPORT taxes will be coming down by 15 percent in two years to bring them in line with the European Union average, Central Government's Public Works Minister, Jose Blanco said yesterday.

At a Parliamentary session in Madrid, Blanco said that a reduction of 8 percent is going to be introduced next year and a further 7 percent in 2012. This, he claimed, will have a “direct effect” on airline companies and on the cost that passengers will be paying for the price of a ticket. Savings are expected to amount to 120 million euros.

Hounded in recent weeks by the threat of an air traffic controllers' strike at Easter in Spain, Blanco said that he would like to set up government-backed measures to “guarantee an air transport service” as well as to “ensure its financial sustainability” under European Union law.