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NEWS Last modified on June 9, 2016

ACI Europe sets record straight on airport charges

The ongoing war of words between airline group A4E and ACI Europe about airport charges took another twist today with the airport trade association slamming accusations that the continent’s gateways have increased their fees by 80% over the last decade as false.

It reveals that the truth is that airport charges have actually risen by 25.4% over the last decade – a rise that is equivalent to €2.85 per passenger, despite the fact during the same time period 21 of Europe’s busiest airports alone invested €53 billion on new infrastructure.

ACI Europe notes that the additional capacity added close to 178 million passengers – equivalent to adding an extra London-Heathrow, Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly to the European aviation network.

It points out that this additional capacity almost perfectly matched traffic growth at the 21 airports as they welcomed 168 million additional passengers in 2015, compared to 2005.
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ACI Europe insists that this additional capacity also allowed these airports to increase their total connectivity by +51.6% and their direct connectivity by +10.7%.

And according ACI’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) surveys passenger satisfaction levels across the gateways increased by +12.4% during that time.

ACI Europe’s director general, Olivier Jankovec, commented: “Europe’s major airports show that airport investment is not about building Taj Mahals. It is about boosting capacity, quality and ultimately air connectivity for Europe – which means a direct and very substantial contribution to economic growth and job creation.

“These €53 billion were invested in strategic infrastructure without weighing on public finances. As such they complement the European Strategic Investment Fund and are essentially driving the objectives of the EU Aviation Strategy.”

An ACI statement says: “With this analysis, ACI Europe is also correcting and responding to the extraordinary claim made by A4E (Airline For Europe) that airport charges at the top 21 EU & EFTA airports increased by +80% since 2005.
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“Based on detailed data from its members, ACI Europe is setting the record straight: the reality is that charges at these airports only increased by +25.4% in real terms – less than €3 per passenger over 10 years – in return for much improved airport services and facilities.”

The trade association says that its analysis demonstrates that the main driver of airport charges is investment for the delivery of more airport capacity, quality and connectivity.

Jankovec  adds: “A4E and its airline members behave like Alice in Wonderland, where money apparently grows on trees. Whether we like it or not, European governments are no longer willing to pay for airport infrastructure – and EU rules now forbid State aid to large airports on competition grounds.

“This is not what may be happening in other parts of the World, but this is our reality here in Europe – and this means that airlines need to come to terms with paying a fair share of the costs involved.”

* The 21 airports referred to by ACI Europe are Amsterdam Schiphol, Barcelona, Berlin Tegel, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Madrid, Manchester, Munich, Oslo, Palma de Mallorca, Paris CDG & Orly, Rome FCO, Stockholm Arlanda, Vienna and Zurich.

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