GREEDY AIRPORT OPERATORS RUSH TO HIKE AIRPORT CHARGES BY AS MUCH AS 90% – IN OPPORTUNISTIC BID TO RECOVER FROM COVID-19 SLUMP AT TRAVELLERS’ EXPENSE – HOPEFULLY MALAYSIA’S MAHB WON’T FOLLOW BLINDLY

‘Outrageous’ to raise airport charges now, says IATA

KUALA LUMPUR: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that plans to increase charges by airports and air navigation service providers (ANSPs) will stall air travel recovery and damage international connectivity.

It said the increase in charges by airports and ANSPs had already reached US$2.3 billion (RM9.6 billion) and the amount could multiply by tenfold if the proposals were approved.

He noted that London’s Heathrow Airport had pushed to hike its charges by over 90% in 2022, while Amsterdam Schiphol Airport had requested to increase charges by over 40% over the next three years.

“It is unacceptable behaviour to benefit from your customers during good times and stick it to them in bad times. We should not compromise the recovery with the irresponsibility and greed of some of our partners who have not addressed costs or tapped their shareholders for support.

“This must stop if the industry is to have a fair opportunity at recovery. Infrastructure shareholders, governmental or private, have benefited from stable returns pre-crisis, and they must now play their part in the recovery.”

Walsh said air transport was critical to support post-pandemic economic recovery.

“We all want to put Covid-19 behind us, but placing the financial burden of a crisis of apocalyptic proportions on the backs of your customers, just because you can, is a commercial strategy that only a monopoly could dream up,” he said.

According to IATA, ANSPs of the 29 Eurocontrol states – the majority of which are state-owned – are looking to recoup almost US$9.3 billion from airlines to cover revenues not realised in 2020/2021.

“They want to do this to recover the revenue and profits they missed when airlines were unable to fly during the pandemic.

“Moreover, they want to do this in addition to a 40% increase planned for 2022 alone,” it said.

The association said that instead of raising charges, airports and ANSPs should look to other avenues to address the financial impact of the pandemic, including implementing sustainable cost control measures, tapping shareholders and accessing capital markets.

BERNAMA

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