IATA CEO Wants EU Commission to Drive Down Airport Passenger Charges

BRUSSELS - The chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on the European Commission to step up its adoption of EU-wide laws to cut airport passenger charges.

Giovanni Bisignani, director general and CEO, said: 'Far too many airports are not delivering the competitiveness that Europe needs. Fifteen of the 25 most expensive airports in the world are in Europe.'

'Between 2001 and 2004 we have seen increases in cost per passenger at Aeroports de Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Munich to name but a few. These are embarrassing examples of airport monopolies living in the dark ages,' he said.

The IATA said charges rose 44 pct at Aeroports de Paris, 34 pct in Amsterdam, 35 pct in Stockholm and 26 pct in Munich.

Bisignani said Manchester, Rome and Birmingham airports -- with 38 pct, 25 pct and 13 pct lowered costs respectively -- were good examples of airports with on track cost reduction strategies.

The commission yesterday started two days of consultation talks with Europe's air industry, including the IATA, in order to combat monopolistic airport business practices.

EU transport commissioner Jacques Barrot met with representatives from airlines, airports and trade organisations to discuss airport charges, passenger taxes from landing fees and airline services such as baggage and freight handling.

The IATA represents 265 airlines and 94 percent of scheduled international traffic. Airlines contribute $45 illion to Europe's Gross Domestic Product and support over $370 billion in economic activity, the association said.

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