How airport taxes killed a private Norwegian airport

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Across Europe, in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, and particularly in the UK, the introduction of aviation taxes impacted on passenger traffic forecasts before the pandemic set in and shattered them.

In some countries the taxes were quite hastily withdrawn, in others they continue and in some cases have been increased.

One of those ‘other’ countries is Norway, where a fairly modest tax brought in in 2016 prompted Ryanair and Norwegian to pull out of Moss Rygge, one of two secondary airports to the south of Oslo that mainly handled low cost carrier business, thus rendering it unviable. Subsequently, a private equity firm acquired it.

Now that firm has put it up for sale and the prospects of disposal as a going concern seem remote. The firm, Jotunfjell Partners, is unlikely to be attracted to other airports after this experience.

But there are still occasional opportunities for investors in Scandinavia and the Nordic countries, even though private operation of airports is still rare; that responsibility typically falls to the national state-controlled operators such as Avinor, Swedavia, Finavia and Isavia, or to municipal ones.

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