Airlines vs. Aena: €1 Billion at Stake Over Airport Fees

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has filed a petition with the Spanish judiciary, demanding that Aena, the operator of 46 airports in Spain, remove COVID-related expenses from the base used to calculate fees and annul the 4.09% increase approved this year.

Aena is seeking an estimated compensation of 2.5 billion euros due to costs incurred during the pandemic. However, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation denied this compensation, a decision Aena has appealed to the High Court of Justice of Madrid. Aena argues that the pandemic constitutes an extraordinary cause that justifies the modification of the Airport Regulation Document (Dora).

**See also:** [More than 100 million passengers have already traveled through Aena’s Spanish airports in 2024](https://aviacionline.com2024/06/aena-aeropuertos-mayo-2024/)

On the other hand, the airlines, represented by IATA, disagree with the airport fees imposed by Aena, especially after the 4.09% increase in 2024. They argue that COVID costs were already included in the 2022 fees and that the 2014 law stipulates that fees should not increase until 2025. According to the airlines, this increase translates into an additional cost of one billion euros for the period 2023-2025, as reported today by the Spanish newspaper Expansión.

A critical point is the so-called “P factor,” which includes external costs such as energy and inflation that Aena cannot control. This factor was approved by the Council of Ministers, raising fees to 10.35 euros per passenger. IATA has brought this issue to the Supreme Court, questioning the legality of these increases.

The airlines warn that the current fees, calculated on a higher base due to these increases, will affect future costs, estimating an impact of 300 million euros annually. They also criticize Aena’s lack of efforts to improve efficiency, pointing to the record profits of 2023 as proof that the pandemic crisis was not as severe as claimed.

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