Spanish air tax hike prompts Ryanair to take extra cash from passengers

RYANAIR customers are to face extra charges on flights they have already paid for because of planned increases to airport tax by the Spanish government.

RYANAIR customers are to face extra charges on flights they have already paid for because of planned increases to airport tax by the Spanish government.

Customers who already have bookings to or from a Spanish airport received an e-mail from the budget airline yesterday, explaining Ryanair may be “forced” to charge more because of “government-imposed increases” expected to come into effect in the next few weeks.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ryanair, led by outspoken chief executive Michael O’Leary, claimed it could not give details of how much these charges will be or when they will be made – but told passengers they will be contacted before any money is debited from their accounts.

Ryanair’s own terms and conditions state that customers are “obliged” to pay for any increases in flight taxes, fees or charges even after a booking is made.

In a statement, airline spokesman Stephen McNamara said: “The Spanish budget proposes to double charges at Madrid and Barcelona airports, as well as imposing smaller increases at other Spanish airports.

“It appears these increases will become effective immediately after the budget is passed, and any passengers who have already booked to travel later this summer will have to pay these higher airport fees if the budget is approved.”

A spokesman from the Civil Aviation Authority highlighted the unusual nature of Ryanair’s decision. “Airlines are obliged to collect taxes on behalf of the governments of the countries passengers are flying to and from,” he said.

“When taxes increase, the airlines are responsible for collecting the additional amount. Some airlines choose to absorb the cost of any increase in tax, rather than pass on the costs to passengers due to travel, but this is a commercial decision. It is up to an individual airline to decide how they deal with an increase in government taxes.”