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Airports want more money, KLM and easyJet also refuse

At Schiphol, at London’s Heathrow Airport, in South Africa and Ethiopia: airports want to charge much higher fees for the use of their facilities in the coming years. Their customers, the airlines, believe that the airports take far too little account of the consequences of the corona crisis.

In mid-September, it was revealed that Schiphol has a conflict with companies such as KLM and easyJet about airport charges. Schiphol wants to increase the rates gradually over the next three years, which amounts to a cumulative increase of 40 percent. The procedure followed was bad blood: the airport determines fares, the airlines are only consulted.

On Monday it turned out that the conflict between airports and air traffic controllers on the one hand and airlines on the other also plays a role elsewhere. At the annual meeting of the international aviation organization IATA in Boston, director Willie Walsh spoke out against the “excessive raises.”

Walsh said airports and air traffic controllers want to implement a total increase of $2.3 billion (2 billion euros). “We all want to put Covid-19 behind us. But shifting the financial burden of a crisis of apocalyptic proportions onto your customers simply because you can is a commercial strategy that only a monopolist can devise.” Heathrow will increase its airport charges by more than 90 percent by 2022, according to IATA. Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) wants 38 percent more money next year.

Airports Council International (ACI), the interest group for airports, reacted with irritation. “After a period of unprecedented cooperation and unity between airports and airlines to survive this crisis and regain passenger confidence, it is disappointing to hear the statements made by IATA,” said ACI chief executive Luis Felipe de Oliveira.

According to him, during the pandemic, airports have given most of their customers, the airlines, some form of discount. “In addition, in many countries airports have not received the same government support as airlines.” IATA stressed on Monday that the $243 billion in government aid that the airlines have received consisted mostly of loans that they have to repay ($110 billion). 81 billion of the aid was for continuing to pay employees.

Marnix Fruitema of BARIN, the organization of airlines that fly in the Netherlands, says that Schiphol’s increases “tend to abuse its dominant position”. “I understand the difficult position of Schiphol, but this increase harms the competitive position of the Dutch airport.” According to Fruitema, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt and Munich are raising their rates much less.

Dick Benschop, director of Schiphol Group, said on Friday at the opening of the new departure hall of Rotterdam The Hague Airport that he finds the increase “reasonable”. “In previous years, the airlines also got money back.” Due to the corona crisis, it is now the other way around. Benschop states that Schiphol has reduced its own costs by 20 percent.

Complain

The airport charges are the main income of the Amsterdam airport. In the first half of 2021, the group thus earned 95 million euros on a turnover of 257 million. In the first six months of 2020 – including the two ‘corona-free’ months January and February – this was 187 million out of 390 million euros.

EasyJet previously complained about the rates at Schiphol. However, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) and the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb) rejected easyJet’s complaints. The more than forty airlines flying to Schiphol can submit views on the rate change until 13 October. Schiphol will determine the definitive rates on 31 October.

Airports want more money, KLM and easyJet also refuse
Source link Airports want more money, KLM and easyJet also refuse

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