(Geneva) The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is outraged at the ridiculously high increase in airport charges—5% per annum over the next five years—for Paris Charles de Gaulle Airports (Aeroports de Paris—ADP) announced by French Transport Minister Dominique Perben.

"At a time when every effort is being made to reduce costs, it is incredible that the Minister ignored the recommendation of his consultative committee and approved increases well above inflation," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's Director General and CEO. "This is yet another demonstration of how airlines are caught between a rock and a hard place in their relationship with airport monopolies. ADP clearly does not understand the need for efficiency. And the French government's dismissive approach to regulation does nothing to encourage commercial discipline."

In September 2005, ADP proposed a 35% increase in charges over 5 years. IATA responded to the proposal with a request to the Minister for a 3% reduction in charges to encourage efficiency and protect the position of Charles de Gaulle as a major European hub. Separately an independent Consultative Commission Aéroportuaire was appointed by the Minister to examine ADP's proposal. The Commission recommended that increases should cover inflation plus 2.5% per annum to a maximum of 11% over the five-year period.

"Efficiency and cost reduction are a matter of survival for airlines. Charles de Gaulle Airport is already the second most expensive airport in Europe. It should be focusing on cost decreases not increases. This short-sighted decision will have long-term effects on the competitive position of Paris as a major hub," said Bisignani.

"The approach of the French Government to air transport is from another age. There was little or no financial transparency. And a result that ignores the recommendation of an independent commission makes a total mockery of the consultation process. The government should support greater efficiency rather than shirking its regulatory responsibilities," said Bisignani.

Notes to editors:

IATA represents in total more than 265 member airlines and 94% of scheduled international traffic. More than 70 of the airlines who fly into Charles de Gaulle Airport are IATA members. In the past five years ADP has increased its airport charges by 26.5%. Additionally the airport tax has increased by 226% in the past five years.