Dispute over operating fees continues. | MATEO CLADERA

The ongoing row between the airports’ authority AENA and the national competition commission (CNMC) is likely to intensify owing to the commission establishing a 1.9% drop in airport charges for 2016.
AENA has consistently rejected any reduction, having instead proposed a freezing of charges.
The row has already led AENA and its principal private-sector shareholder, the British fund TCI (The Children Investment), to engaging powerful names among the ranks of Spanish lawyers, and they will be dissecting the regulator’s justifications for the reduction, one of them being that a freezing of rates “does not conform to existing legislation”.
The commission maintains that AENA have wrongly interpreted the meaning of “deficit produced” referred to by legislation in considering prospective deficit and not a real one.
Under the commission’s interpretation, this would mean that a surplus forecast for 2016 would allow for compensation of the real deficit in 2013.
 When capitalised, this would amount to 199 million euros.
AENA’s prospective deficit, to be recovered in subsequent years, would be much higher: 555 million euros.
The commission also takes issue with the way in which AENA’s tariff proposals for 2016 separate costs related to airline/airport operation and those of commercial operations, which typically include retailing, car parking and such like. The commission considers this so-called dual till to be “incorrect”.
The commission therefore concludes that there should be an adjustment of 69 million euros in the cost of charges that AENA has not included in its proposal. Furthermore, the commission has revised upwards the forecast for the growth in passenger traffic in 2016: it places this at 4%, while AENA has suggested 3.5%.