HomeAir LineThe CNMC blesses the increase of 40 cents per traveler in Aena...

The CNMC blesses the increase of 40 cents per traveler in Aena fares

The 4.09% increase will take effect on March 1 despite complaints from airlines

The president of Aena, Maurici Lucena.Pablo Monge Fernandez

Aena’s rate increase request, to recover operating costs affected by inflation in 2022, has obtained the necessary approval from the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) for its entry into force on March 1. The increase is 4.09%, which translates into 40 cents on average per traveler across the entire airport network. The airlines have maintained strong tension against an increase in prices that they directly transfer to the price of tickets. The maximum adjusted annual income per passenger (IMAAJ) charged by Aena will rise to 10.35 euros, compared to the current 9.95 euros.

If the traffic managed is equal in 2023, with a record of 283 million travelers, Aena should obtain an extra 113 million in its income from the aeronautical or regulated business. The public company defends that rates will continue to be lower than those of 2019 and that they will have decreased by 11%, in nominal terms, between 2015 and 2023. In the same period, inflation has been 21%, which makes Aena defend that their prices are actually 32% below those of 2015. The airport manager’s estimates speak of high possibilities of setting a new historical passenger record in 2024.

The update of the fare has gone through the mandatory consultation period with the airlines; It went to the CNMC for a first review of the costs to be compensated, and days ago it passed the Council of Ministers’ examination. With the approval of the CNMC, all that remains is for it to be approved by the board of directors of Aena. The increase applies to each of the individual rates imposed by Aena for the different airport services.

Most of the increase in prices was “inevitable”, as stated by the Minister of Transport, Óscar Puente, at the beginning of January. Up to 3.5 percentage points are related to inflation in operating costs that are beyond Aena’s control, included in the so-called P Index of the rate. Among these items are energy, own labor costs, air navigation services or the cleaning of terminals and security. The CNMC already approved 3.5% of the P Index on June 8. And airport regulation, based on Law 18/2014, makes supervision by the Government mandatory when the aforementioned P Index requires a rate increase of more than 1%. Aena’s argument before the CNMC was that the increase in its cost base could not be compensated with cuts if it was intended to maintain the quality of service established in the Airport Regulation Document (DORA) 2022-2026.

The measure will be cushioned in part by incentives to increase routes. In addition, a subsidy will be activated to cover the expenses generated by Covid 19. The latter, long demanded by airlines, comes from the EU Covid-Solidarity Fund and amounts to 45 million.

Aena’s tariff framework, which is based on the aforementioned maximum annual income per adjusted passenger (IMAAJ), is limited by the sixth transitional provision of Law 18/2014, in which a transitional period was established between 2015 and 2025 in the that the maximum increase in the aforementioned IMAAJ must be 0% before justified cost variations each year. Airlines had demanded moderation in prices to facilitate the recovery of balance sheets that emerged in debt from the Covid-19 crisis.

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