The hospitality industry digs up the hatchet with Aena. The sector, represented by Hostelería de España and Marcas de Restauración, and the CC.OO. and UGT denounce that the publicly owned airport manager, does not lower the rents of the premises that it has in the network of airports throughout the country. This has been stated in a letter sent to the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, where they ask for his mediation to resolve the conflict. In the letter, they warn that if the situation does not change there is a risk 12,000 jobs related to hospitality and trade. They ask to be charged according to the actual turnover of the businesses and the evolution of air traffic.
“In our opinion, there is a real risk to the viability of most of these companies in the very short term and, consequently, the continuity of more than 12,000 jobs is at risk. Currently, due to the pandemic, 75% of these jobs are in ERTE situation due to the 72% reduction in passenger traffic in 2020, “they explain. In addition, they accuse Aena of putting at risk “an essential service for the passenger.”
With the drop in air traffic, billing at airports has fallen dramatically. Most of the establishments have a part of the rent that they pay variable, according to their sales, while the rest it would be a fixed amount, called the guaranteed minimum annual income (RMGA). The amount of the rents has been negotiating since last May, since the RMGA was suspended in March.
However, after ten months, no agreement has yet been reached. In fact, the proposal that was being considered, which consisted of the reduction of the RMGA and a variable rate such as that of 2019, did not have the acceptance of the Aena Board, so it did not go ahead. In fact, and according to hoteliers and unions, the airport manager reaches suspend negotiations once in December the Government approves the decree of aid to the hotel, commerce and tourism. “Although AENA recognizes that it is not applicable in the airport environment, the aforementioned public entity suspends any negotiation to apply, de facto, this Royal Decree,” they report.
The situation had a new twist of the screw last January, with a new proposal from Aena. This consisted of a reduction of the RMGA of 100% in the period of strict confinement, 50% from June 22, 2020 to September 8, 2021, and the full collection of this from September 9 of this year. A proposal that hoteliers consider “insufficient”. They understand that these are very high conditions when “traffic will not recover until 2024 in the most optimistic AENA forecasts.”
After not accepting Aena’s proposal, it immediately proceeded to invoice 100% of the RMGA for 2020, «which means that the amount of rents invoiced in the March-December period can be up to 7 times higher than the level of the sales of the same period and in the case of accepting its conditions it would be more than 3 times higher “, they denounce from the hospitality industry. The term to pay the amounts ends next March 5 and, failure to do so, will lead to bankruptcy of many companies.
From the hospitality industry, already suffering the consequences of the crisis beyond the airports, lament the position of Aena, which, in their opinion, “prioritizes private interests of some groups, from their monopolistic position, rather than ensuring the survival and quality of an essential service, supporting the viability of companies and safeguarding employment” . In addition, they also state that in the rest of the EU countries, restoration companies with an international presence have been able to renegotiate the conditions of their rentals.