A four per cent increase in airport taxes is intended. | Archive

Hoteliers, transport operators and travel agencies in Mallorca have all expressed their opposition to an increase in airport taxes in 2024.

The airports authority AENA - 51% state-owned, 49% private - has announced its intention to increase taxes by 4.09% from March next year. The 2022-2026 plan for airport regulation, approved by the Spanish government, is for a freeze on taxes charged to airlines. However, there is legislative provision that allows AENA to pass on exceptional costs that arise over this period. AENA argues that this is the case.

Spain's competition commission will give its assessment of the planned increase, approval for which will be needed from the Spanish government.

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The president of the Aviba travel agencies association, Pedro Fiol, says that the increase will make holiday packages more expensive and therefore mean that Mallorca and the Balearics as holiday destinations will lose competitiveness. He points out that the islands have a tourism dependent to a large extent on tour operators. "This is not understood by AENA."

Rafael Roig of the transport federation says: "All increases reduce Balearic tourism competitiveness, so they must be controlled as much as possible by those with political responsibility for the Balearics, as the future of the industry and that of businesses is at stake." As far as the politicians are concerned, there is little that the Balearic government can do other than to seek to put pressure on Madrid; there is no regional management of the three airports.

AENA maintains that its taxes are currently the lowest in the European air transport sector and doesn't accept opposition to the increase that is also coming from the airlines. Spain's ALA airlines association, the president of which is Javier Gándara of easyJet, has made clear that there shouldn't be scope for raising taxes given AENA's profit this year and the recovery of dividend payments to shareholders.