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Ryanair Passes On Spanish Airport Surtax To Passengers

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

13 July 2012


Budget airline Ryanair has confirmed that it will be passing on the cost of the recent rise in Spanish airport taxes to passengers.

Adopted on June 29, the Spanish state budget for 2012 provides for an increase in airport taxes of around 18.9% on average, with a larger increase for the Madrid-Barajas and Barcelona airports, which will see airport taxes almost double.

The increased airport charges, which entered into force on July 1, despite fierce opposition from the industry, including European travel agents and tour operators, will apply to all tickets with departure on or after July 1, including retroactively on those that have already been issued by travel agents as well as tour operators for flights included in their package tours.

In its statement, Ryanair advises passengers that it will debit passengers “for the increased airport departure tax imposed by the Spanish government for all flights departing from Spain which were booked before July 1, 2012 for travel from July 1 onwards”.

For bookings made on or after July 2, the increased tax is included in the price, Ryanair adds.

Commenting on the Spanish government’s decision to press ahead with the planned rise, the European travel agents’ association ECTAA said that it was “dismayed by the hike in the Spanish airport taxes, which came into effect on July 1, without proper consultation of airport users nor appropriate implementation time”.

It says: “Travel agents and tour operators have called on the Spanish authorities to defer the implementation of the new taxes until after the peak summer season. At the very least the airport charges should not have been applied on tickets already issued for on or after July 1, as it is a technical and financial nightmare to recover the extra charges. It also causes a lot of consternation among the travelling public why they should be required to pay additional charges after they have already paid for their ticket.”

“ECTAA and GEBTA, representing tour operators as well as leisure and business travel agents, are concerned that the increase of Spanish airport charges have been adopted with total disregard for European legislation on airport charges. The latter require airports to present a proposal for the increase of airport charges to airport users four months before they enter into force and to publish the decision no later than two months before its entry into force.”

“The way the airport charges were adopted are a clearly an infringement of European legislation. ECTAA and GEBTA have raised this with the Spanish enforcement bodies and the European Commission.”

Chairman of GEBTA Mathias warns: “While we have a certain degree of sympathy for the need to adapt airport charges to cover the costs and balance the books, we do not see why this has to be done at the expense of the industry, who have to struggle to recover these costs from the passengers. Applying an extra airport charge retroactively on tickets already issued for departure on or after July 1 is a nightmare for the industry and gives a wrong signal to the travelling public.”

President of ECTAA Boris Zgomba insists: “This is a hard blow to the tourism industry and in particular tour operators, who cannot recover the extra costs from their customers. It is incomprehensible how such taxes can be adopted as a tour de force without regard for the industry and the travellers, who are the customers of airports.”

Concluding their statement, ECTAA and GEBTA underline their “hope that this matter will be reviewed very carefully by the enforcement bodies in charge of European legislation on airport charges" and their continued "hope that the implementation of these additional charges will be deferred”.

TAGS: tax | European Commission | aviation | travel and tourism | Spain | Europe

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