Following with the public tender for the handling licenses in the Spanish airports, the draft issued by Aena to this respect has warned the Handling companies. Amongst other issues, this draft suggests an average decrease by 30% with regard to the current handling fees.
The tender will be carried out in two phases: the first one for the airports with less than one million passengers per year and, the second one, for the airports with over one million passengers per year.
Aena had said they would seek “an increase in competition and quality and a decrease in prices”. Now they are negotiating with a draft on the desk. The current operators expect that the consultation process, which will finish on the 10th of August, ends with important changes in the tender conditions; on the contrary the main unions fear the training and safety on the ground get worse in order to optimize costs. In the meantime Aena say they are open to suggestions until that deadline.
Juan Luis Vitón, Commercial Manager for Swissport, said their margin is sometimes of 5%. If they had to reduce their fees by 30% the business would not be profitable. Thus the possibility of the main operators not renewing their licenses is to be taken into consideration.
Iberia, the main handling operator, is interested in the tender as long as they can offer their services for the market price and they can get some more flexible working conditions. For this reason, the union representatives say that Iberia might leave the small airports aside in order to try to obtain the licenses only for the airports with over one million passengers.
With the new terms in the draft Aena might be trying to soften the airport costs that airlines have to pay since 2012. According to Juan Alcina, head of the aviation industry at USO—A Spanish Union— Aena is trying to reduce a debt of 13,000 million euros. Getting more competitive handling fees they would be trying to improve the airport net.