The European Commission (EC) has recommended that airports raise charges to airlines as one of the means available to compensate for the abolition of duty free sales within the European Union. Philip Hamon, director general of ACI Europe, says operators do not want to raise charges, but agrees there is no replacement for the substantial part of the $4-5 billion investment level at airports, most of which comes from retail and other non-aeronautical fees.

Tangible evidence that the process may have already begun is a change in the pricing structure at Dublin and a decision by Copenhagen Airport to raise charges by 15%. Both airports have immediately come under fierce pressure from some of their most prominent customer airlines.

Dublin-based low-fare carrier Ryanair has postponed plans to operate five new routes to mainland Europe, saying that charges at the airport make the routes uneconomic. Although Aer Rianta, the operator of Dublin Airport, is not raising charges, it is removing the large rebates granted to new scheduled airlines.

In Denmark, both SAS and Maersk Air are trying to refer the airport's planned increase to the Danish competition authority.

The commercial revenues for Aer Rianta and UK airport operator BAA amount to $6-8 per passenger, with a large portion from retail sales, including duty free goods.

Source: Airline Business