Airport-airline relationship hits new low over charges


SYDNEY (Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation) - Airports Council International (ACI) members have unanimously passed a resolution on ‘new initiatives for airport-airline cooperation’.

ACI recommends that its members do not negotiate user charges and other business matters directly with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), but rather with individual airlines and groups of airlines (eg boards of airline representatives).

ACI stated that continued engagement with IATA “too often will lead to unsatisfactory outcomes for airports”, and noted that the airline association has waged a “sustained, aggressive campaign in the media making inaccurate and unfounded claims about airport user charges over the past three years”.

IATA is yet to officially respond to the ACI resolution, but in May-05, when delivering his ‘State of the Air Transport Industry’ speech, Director General and CEO, Giovanni Bisignani, called on governments to ensure that ‘monopoly suppliers’, including airports, ATM providers and fuel suppliers, and “get serious about cost-efficiency”. IATA stated that 12% of airline costs, or USD42 billion annually, are paid to airports and ATM providers.

Airports are truly a key stabilising factor in the troubled air transport industry…We need not respond to those who criticise us mindlessly…Unfortunately, IATA has aggressively, and not very accurately, used rhetoric and media pressure to inflame the charges negotiation process. In fact the best and speediest agreements have been made where IATA had no role. So this year I advocate a new approach...We can no longer rely on IATA as a serious industry partner when it comes to charges”, Robert Aaronson, Director General, Airports Council International.

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