easyJet CEO for Spain and Portugal Javier Gandara said it would be "difficult" for the carrier to reinstate its base at Madrid Barajas International Airport due to operator AENA's increase in airport charges (Europa Press, 09-Jun-2013). Mr Gandara said AENA's recent agreement to cap rates at a certain percentage above CPI for the next five years is "positive because rates will rise less than expected", but noted it would be "impossible" in the short-term and "complicated" in the medium-term for the base to be established until rates are reduced. The carrier closed its 8-aircraft base in Nov-2012 due to falling demand and a lack of profitability. Mr Gandara said after the closure of the base the carrier expected a 10% drop in traffic, noting easyJet's expectation of 12 million passengers in Spain in 2013, down from 13 million passengers in 2012. Over the summer season, Mr Gandara expects a 10-15% drop in traffic as easyJet experiences the "full impact" of the base closure.
easyJet says 'impossible' in short-term and 'complicated' in medium-term to reinstate Madrid base
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The legal framework prevents tariff increases before 2025, but the outcome was in contrast with the Spanish airport group's own proposal to freeze charges. Strong traffic growth of 11% to an all time high level of 230 million passengers in 2016 may have influenced the regulator's decision.
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