No progress in the control of air fares almost three years after the transport summit

he 75% subsidy to residents has a global item of 641 million in the 2022 State Budget. / C7

Fabián Chinea (ASG), demands that Minister Sánchez appear to explain what has been done to avoid unjustified price increases

Loreto Gutierrez

In January 2020, two months before the state of alarm was declared due to the pandemic, the presidents of the Governments of the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla held a summit in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on transport and mobility of the extrapeninsular territories, in which it was agreed to urge the state government to supervise the system of establishing prices of the airlines to avoid unjustified increases in rates.

The purpose was to control possible abuses by the airlines and guarantee that the 75% bonus for residents, in force since July 2018, has an impact on the pocket of the citizen and not for the benefit of the companies. The institutional declaration that came out of the transport summit pointed out that once the 75% subsidy is consolidated, collaboration between the autonomous state governments is necessary to define the mechanisms that certify the maximum efficiency of public resources.

CONTROL MEASURES

  • Agreement
    The institutional declaration signed by the extrapeninsular territories in January 2020 called for control measures over the airline pricing system.

  • Without result
    Chinea denounces that the fares for journeys between the islands and the peninsula continue to be "exorbitant", especially at certain times of the year.

  • Demand
    The ASG senator warns that the situation could worsen and calls for "effective measures" to prevent abuses in the price of tickets.

Almost three years after that summit, there has been hardly any progress along these lines and the ASG senator for La Gomera, Fabián Chinea, has presented a request to the Upper House for the appearance of the Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Esther Sánchez, to report on the measures that have been adopted in relation to the request that the extrapeninsular territories transferred to the Government.

Chinea considers that the Ministry has turned a deaf ear to the demand for control of the system to set the prices of airline tickets and denounces that the rates "continue to be exorbitant" especially at certain times of the year. In his opinion, it is contradictory that the Government complains that the 75% subsidy has a high cost for the public coffers -as it has been doing on several occasions as a result of the approval of the bonuses for the buses, lower than the commuter trains on the peninsula - and yet it continues without establishing effective measures to avoid abuses in the price of tickets, despite verifying that in many cases they are unjustified increases.

The air transport subsidy for residents has a financial item of 641 million euros in the General State Budget for 2022 and the measure benefits more than 3.4 million inhabitants of the four extrapeninsular territories, which represent 7.4% of the national population.

«The 75% bonus is a right anchored in the Economic and Fiscal Regime of the Canary Islands and must be scrupulously respected, but we understand that the State must apply the pertinent measures and demand that the companies avoid abusive rates on the routes with the islands," says Chinea.

The ASG senator considers that the situation could worsen in the future due to the monopoly of the companies integrated into the IAG group (Iberia Express, Vueling and Air Nostrum) and Air Europa, in whose capital Iberia has become a part.

The rise in fuel and energy prices is also causing an additional increase in airfares: according to a recent study by Wise, an online payment company, European airlines increased the average price of their tickets by 30% this summer, while the 'low cost' firms did 50%. Iberia is among the airlines that have increased their fares the most (+57%) along with Air Europa (+54%), while Iberia Express has increased its prices by 19%.

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