According to a publication in El Confidencial, the CNMC (the National Market and Competition Commission) has communicated to Aena the definitive result on the airport charges for 2016 imposing a 1.9% decrease that the Ministry of Development (Fomento) should incorporate in its General Budget which will be approved on Friday. Moreover, this scale will serve as a reference for the tariff freezing which should be applied during the following ten years, between 2017 and 2026.
This middle ground between the tariff freezing solicited by Aena and the 3.5% decrease recommended by the CNMC seems to be the appropriate solution to end the conflict between these two state entities in a moment of high tension given the proximity of the upcoming general elections. The Law 18/2014, passed in October 2014, gives the CNMC full power to set the airport charges in 2016. The Ministry of Development is obliged to comply with the CNMC decision which should be reflected in the State General Budget for final approval.
The 2016 airport charges have been one of the principal conflicts between the CNMC and Aena since the airport management organization concluded its entrance in the stock exchange. The chosen final solution is considered a lesser evil which, while waiting for official reactions, will translate into a “peace agreement” for the next ten years in Spain. Nevertheless, freezing an initial price drop of 1.9% isn’t the same as the 10% decrease which was initially being considered.
The CNMC considers that the tariff cut will permit improvement in ticket prices because it will grant airlines an additional margin. The government is confident that once the decrease in airport charges becomes effective airlines will collaborate in providing more competitive and favorable offers for air transport users in Spain.
Photo: Barcelona by Camilo Rueda López – Flickr