Spanish airlines yesterday announced that air tariffs went up at the start of the year, not because of the strength of the Dollar and high fuel prices, but because of a new unilateral airport tax for all European Union airlines. The President of AECA, the Association of Spanish Airlines, Felipe Navio, explained yesterday that the increase in airport and landing taxes translate into an extra annual cost of 12'000 million pesetas to Spanish airlines. The European Union insisted that the Spanish government unified its airport taxes, in accordance with which, until now, Spanish air passengers paid 100 percent less in air taxes. A passenger flying from the mainland used to pay 315 pesetas in tax and just 32 pesetas if flying from the Balearics and the Canaries. Since January 1, the tax is the same, whatever destination of departure, 619 pesetas. As a result all airlines are having to review their tariffs, which are already facing increases because of rising operating costs. Navio said that Spanish airlines are “very concerned” about the increase. Navio said that the rise is “substantial” and an extra complication for the industry which is trying to adjust to the high Dollar and fuel prices.

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