(Geneva) The Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association, Giovanni Bisignani, called on airports to achieve greater transparency in their relationships with airlines. The challenge came in response to a recommendation of Airports Council International (ACI) that its membership stop negotiating airport charges with IATA, the collective body of 265 airlines comprising 94% of scheduled international air traffic.

“ACI has failed to lead its members towards the efficiency that is the reality of aviation today. Quite simply, the air transport industry can no longer afford archaic airport business models that take advantage of monopoly positions to hide inefficiency and rake in profits. The proof is in ACI’s announcement that airports have been stable and profitable during the most turbulent five years in aviation history. Airports spend and airlines pay the bill. It is a comfortable situation that must be challenged. If ACI disagrees with our analysis, then ACI must accept our longstanding request to transparently benchmark efficiencies in the same way as IATA and Air Navigation Service Providers do with the leadership of their progressive association the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO). There is nothing to fear but the harsh reality of what truths the numbers may reveal,” said Bisignani.

Bisignani was careful to point out that not all airports are guilty of the same sins. “We have many great partners. Only yesterday IATA concluded a three-year agreement with Copenhagen airport that will reduce charges and encourage traffic growth. Moreover, I congratulate Nils Boserup, CEO of Copenhagen Airport, on his re-election as ACI’s Chairman. The relationship that IATA has developed with Copenhagen Airport is a great example of the transparency that is required to achieve positive results for both airlines and airports,” said Bisignani.

ICAO recognises IATA as the representative of the airlines for airport user charges consultations. IATA negotiates with many airports around the world and has secured a number of key agreements in the past two years. Most notably IATA agreed with Tokyo’s Narita International Airport on an 11% reduction in charges in September.

Annually IATA honours airports and Air Navigation Service Providers that provide value for money services with its prestigious Eagle Awards. Most recently, Eagle Awards were presented to Brisbane International Airport, San Francisco, Singapore/Changi, Athens and Melbourne.

“There are plenty of great examples to follow and there is no time to waste sitting in conclave trying to protect the prehistoric practices of a few airport management teams that refuse to adapt,” said Bisignani.