Better Deal for Airlines and Passengers in Portugal

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The FINANCIAL — Airlines for Europe (A4E) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have called on the Portuguese government to improve the prospects for lower airport charges at Portuguese airports by re-negotiating the concession agreement granted to Portuguese airport operator ANA.

As part of a 50-year concession agreement granted in 2012, ANA, the owner of ten airports in Portugal, set airport charges at Lisbon according to a pre-determined formula rather than in accordance with its costs. As a result, airlines operating at Lisbon airport and their passengers have been paying at least 30% higher fees than necessary, which have increased travel costs for passengers and damaged Portugal’s economic competitiveness.

The formula contained in the concession agreement is at odds with a key principle established by the UN International Civil Aviation Organization that airport charges should be related to the cost of providing those services.

A4E and IATA call upon the Portuguese government to intervene and re-negotiate the terms of the concession, to ensure a fairer deal for passengers. In this context, A4E and IATA have filed a joint complaint to the Directorate General for Competition (DG COMP) of the European Commission in a bid to support the government to secure a better deal for Portugal.

This is not the first time that airlines have sought EU intervention over rising airport charges in Portugal. IATA, and other airline associations have complained to the European Commission about the fact that Portugal is not compliant with the European Airport Charges Directive, which sets minimum rules for the setting of airport charges.

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