David Kaminski-Morrow / Paris
IATA member carriers have used the prospective takeover of UK airports operator BAA to underline their concerns over high aeronautical charges.
During a press briefing at the IATA Annual General Meeting in Paris, Air France chief Jean-Cyril Spinetta, who chaired the meeting, contrasted the high operating margins of BAA with the lower figures of British Airways – adding that BA’s margins are among the highest in the airline industry.
He says that airports need to “put into the same box” revenues arising from aeronautical charges and those derived from other sources, as a mechanism to help reduce user fees.
“When you have these [airline and airport] figures, you see the differences in the same industry – between airlines where there is competition and airports where there is no competition,” he says, adding that there is a need for more transparency over charges.
Outgoing IATA governing board chairman and Air Canada chief Robert Milton says: “We’ve seen ugly outcomes from the privatization of various airports around the world. We haven’t had particularly happy outcomes so far.
“In the case of BAA it’s going to have added debt burden and added cost burden – it’s hard for us to paint a happy picture of this, at this time.”