NEWS

Special airport levy, dues to be cut?

The government is considering cuts in the special airport levy on air travel tickets and the dues airlines pay for the use of the Athens International Airport (AIA), in order to provide incentives to airlines struggling amidst a crisis in international travel and to boost tourism. Responding to a parliamentary question, Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Drys said yesterday that the government would recommend to the AIA administration that it reduce the airport dues. The Spata facility, which opened in March this year, is being run, for its first 30 years of operation, by the German-led consortium that built the airport. With the transfer to the new airport, dues soared from the extremely low levels of those at the old Hellenikon airport, reflecting the higher level of services offered. Although airlines had complained right from the start about the dues, the AIA had balked at changing them. According to sources, however, they are now willing to consider a 10 to 20 percent reduction from January 1, 2002. The special airport charge, or Airport Development and Modernization Levy, was imposed a decade ago to help build the airport at Spata. It adds 12 euros on tickets for domestic flights and international flights within the EU, and 20 euros for other international flights. Revenue from the levy is divided between the AIA consortium (75 percent) and the Civil Aviation Service (25 percent). The consortium’s revenue is guaranteed until November 1, 2014, but the state is willing to forgo most of its own revenue in order to reduce the additional charges by 10 to 20 percent.