STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
AENA, the company that runs Palma airport, yesterday hit back at criticism from Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair over high charges.
On Thursday, Ryanair cited the high operating costs at the airport, as well as rising fuel costs, for its decision to suspend 372 flights at the airport between November 4 and December 19.

But AENA has hit back saying that tariffs at Spanish airports are “significantly lower” than the average charges at European airports and that it was not possible to introduce discriminatory policies in favour of particular companies as the airports were funded by the contributions of customers. AENA sources said that a consultant's report had shown that the amount of money that companies using Spain's airports paid was 48.3 percent less than the European average and 37.3 percent less than the world average.

They added that the Association of European Airlines had shown that airport charges represented 4 percent of the total costs of airlines, while fuel represented, on average, 33 percent of costs.

AENA said that the same charges applied to airports of similar characteristics, so that Palma has the same charges as Valencia, Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid Barajas, Lanzarote, Malaga, Seville and Tenerife North and South, among others.

The airport company said that the average amount of money that went towards the airport infrastructure from each ticket was 5.27 euros and said that it could not lower charges anymore as it would put at risk the investment programme for the airport network.

Meanwhile, following the announcement that Palma-based airline Spanair is planning to cut a third of its workforce, the President of the Spanish Association of Airlines has warned there could be more job losses in the industry.

Felipe Navio said yesterday that if the crisis in the sector continues and “urgent and fast” measures aren't taken the situation in Spanair could be repeated in other airlines.

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