EC demands explanation over Spanish airport tax hike

AN explanation from Spain over airport tax increases has been demanded by European Commissioners (EC).

This follows complaints from various airlines regarding the extra costs they are facing. The Commission has written to Mariano Rajoy’s cabinet asking them to justify how their own expenses of running Spain’s airports make the tax hikes necessary. They have given the Spanish Government two months to reply before further action is taken.

Airlines and travel agencies say the tax rise flout EU rules. If this is found to be the case and the increases are not justified, the Commission could take the case to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg or force Spain to recalculate duties it charges to flight operators.

The EC says airlines are being put off using Spanish airports due to the tax hike. Particularly affected are Barajas and El Prat airports in Madrid and Barcelona, where taxes have doubled in the past year.

Minimum requisites for calculating taxes are necessary according to a European Directive issued on the matter in 2009. All airport users should be given enough information about taxes in advance, the Directive requires. But carrier firms say they have not been properly consulted before the rises were applied.

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