As part of its drive to reduce the country’s deficit, the Spanish government voted in a new airport tax last month which will affect holidaymakers flying from Spanish airports. Ryanair is already charging the extra tax fee in advance on bookings made on its website.
Last weekend was one of the busiest of the year for holiday travel, with one million holidaymakers heading to Spain according to one report.
The amount passengers will have to pay in addition to their actual flight fare will depend on which airport they’re using, says the European travel agents’ association ECTAA.
As an example, the tax at Madrid would rise to €14.44, while Barcelona will go up from €6.12 to €13.44. Ryanair says it is passing on the cost of the rises to passengers, even those who have already previously paid in full because the tax applies “retrospectively to customers who booked flights before 2 July 2012 and are travelling from 1 July onwards.”
Meanwhile Spanish low cost carrier Vueling has emailed its passengers giving them seven days to cancel their flight, otherwise the extra fee will be debited automatically from their cards. Ryanair also says if passengers affected by the new tax don’t like the extra charge they can cancel their bookings.
Vueling CEO Alex Cruz has criticised the introduction of higher airport charges in Spain. Cruz told a meeting of the Aviation Club in London that the Spanish government was “scraping the bottom of the barrel for income anywhere they can find it”.
“That explains the brilliant idea of hiking airport fees anywhere between 5 per cent and 100 per cent in all 40-some airports AENA (Spanish Airports and Air Navigation) operates,” he said.
British Airways and Iberia told the BBC last week that they haven’t yet decided whether to pass on the cost or absorb it. ECTAA said the rise was imposed “without proper consultation of airport users nor appropriate implementation of time” and that travel agents are facing a “technical and financial nightmare to recover the extra charge.”