ENAIRE, the national air navigation manager, has drastically reduced its air navigation charges again to propel the recovery of the aviation sector.
The mainland route charge will be reduced from 51.08 euros in 2020 to 45.44 euros in 2021, which is an 11% reduction. Similarly, the route charge in the Canary Islands, which was already reduced earlier and is lower than in the mainland, is also being lowered from 43.73 euros to 40 euros, an 8.5% drop.
With this measure, ENAIRE is helping air traffic recover in the wake of the worst crisis in its history due to the effects of COVID-19, lowering costs for airlines and helping to lower ticket prices for the travelling public.
These reductions to its route charges are in addition to the reductions ENAIRE already made in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Since 2017, Spain has seen its route charges drop by 36.7% in mainland Spain and by 31.6% in the Canary Islands.
Spain has reduced its mainland route charge in 2020 and 2021 by 26%, and in the Canary Islands by 20%. In these times of crisis, these reductions provide significant support to the aviation sector.
What is the route charge?
The route charge is ENAIRE's main source of revenue. This charge is remuneration for the costs incurred for using its en route air navigation facilities and services.
The route charge accounts for more than 95% of ENAIRE's tariff revenue.
There is also an aerodrome approach fee, although this represents less than 5% of ENAIRE's tariff revenue.
How the route charge is calculated
Charges are set in accordance with a system that is regulated at the European level through EUROCONTROL and the European Commission.
The procedure for establishing a common pricing policy for using the air navigation aid network, also known as route charges, is governed by the Multilateral Agreement on Air Navigation Aid Charges.
The mathematical formula used to calculate the route charge takes into account the country's unit charge, the distance in kilometres of the flight and the aircraft's maximum take-off weight in tonnes.
How it affects specific flights
The following table shows different types of flights, with typical aircraft for each, and the effect that the reduced rates applied to airlines has on route charges in Spain.
- An international flight from Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, a flying distance in Spain of 357 kilometres, by a B763 aircraft weighing 185 tonnes would go from paying 350 euros in 2020 to 312 euros in 2021 (in Spanish airspace)
- A mainland flight from Madrid to Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport, a route length of 443 kilometres, by a A320 aircraft weighing 73 tonnes would go from paying 274 euros in 2020 to 244 euros in 2021.
- An inter-island flight from Fuerteventura to Tenerife North by an AT76 aircraft weighing 23 tonnes would go from paying 60 euros in 2020 to 55 euros in 2021.
- An overflight (one that does not take off from or land at a Spanish airport) from Lisbon to Marseilles, a flying distance of 1,030 kilometres in Spain, by a B738 aircraft weighing 75 tonnes would go from paying 664 euros in 2020 to 573 euros in 2021 (for the flight over Spanish airspace).
ENAIRE's route charge has become more competitive compared to Europe's main national air navigation managers, and is, since 2020, the lowest. In 2021, it will be around 27% below the average for Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom.
Of all European countries, Spain will reduce its route charges the most in 2021, placing it some 8% below the average in the EUROCONTROL route charge system.