FLIGHTS to Spain are going to cost more than usual as airlines will be forced to pay for tourists' coronavirus tests.
Spain's airport authority AENA is going to pass on the multi-million pound costs of all coronavirus checks and new systems, raising fears of even higher air fares and more collapses.
AENA says any grants received, such as from the European Union, would be discounted from the bill which is likely to run into millions of euros across the Spanish airport network.
The same formula is being proposed for ports in Spain, and hard-hit airlines may be able to "pay off" the additional fees over several years.
The proposals have been officially published today by the Spanish government which is granting the airport authority special permission to recoup the costs of all the checks once the State of Emergency is lifted on June 21.
The terms will be agreed between the Ministry of Health and AENA itself through an agreement that will be signed in the coming days.
"The staff or material expenses, which will depend on intangibles such as the volume of tourists that come to Spain in the coming months or the existence of outbreaks in the pandemic, will be charged to the airport tariffs for this and subsequent years until their recovery," says the Spanish government.
Existing agreements envisaged no increase in airport tariffs until 2027 but the coronavirus pandemic is being accepted as exceptional circumstances.
During the State of Emergency, most of Spain's airports have been paralysed but a few weeks ago, 13 were reopened, accepting passengers only if they passed one of five criteria, including needing to travel to work.
It means there has been substantially less foot flow but this will surge once all airports reopen and international travel is once again allowed.
There is currently debate about whether travellers will have to take coronavirus tests before they leave or even on arrival but all Spanish airports are likely to take temperatures and get health questionnaires filled in.
Major measures will also be necessary at the airports, such as social distancing markings and screens.
Yesterday, the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, highlighted the work carried out by both AENA and the Spanish ports, and emphasised that when Spain opens its doors and tourists can come, "they will have conditions of maximum security".
Minister of Transport, José Luis Ábalos has hinted that certain discounts in the tariffs could be used to encourage traffic.
AENA is already pointing out that during the crisis, it has deferred the collection of the parking fee to hundreds of paralysed planes, has stopped collecting the rents from the commercial establishments of its terminals and has supported the rates of flights with sanitary cargo.
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