The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed its “deep concern” for the increases in airport charges and the cost of aviation fuel at the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO).
In addition, the IATA considered that Costa Rica’s airport infrastructure expansion plans “do not have a long-term vision defined,” which it believes creates uncertainty in the commercial aviation sector.
IATA said on Tuesday (November 18), through a press release in Miami, that the airport operator confirmed an increase in its rates for next year, because recent investments will be depreciated rapidly to coincide with the expiration of the management contract in 2026.
“Accelerated depreciation contradicts the collection principles established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which indicates that the fees must be related to the current operating costs of the airport. Paying for an asset in an accelerated way – before the end of its useful life – results in an inappropriate increase in costs to passengers and airlines operating in San José, that is, a rate not related to the real cost,” said IATA in the document.
The organization represents more than 290 airlines worldwide.
Peter Cerdá, IATA Regional Vice President for the Americas, urged the Costa Rica government to define an “urgent” solution that slows the increase.
“It can be an extension of the contract, the depreciation of the assets according to their useful life, or the addition of a residual value to the assets,” Cerdá suggested.
On the other hand, according to IATA estimates, the fuel price formula applied by Costa Rica’s state refinery, the Refinería Costarricense de Petróleo (Recope), makes this fuel on average 20% more expensive than other relevant airports in the region.
For the IATA, the issue of medium and long-term management will worsen the current situation. “Proof of this is that the decision on continuing the expansion of the current airport or building a completely new one is still pending by the State,” the organization said in the statement.
The association even asks the Government to create a “high-level working table” to define the future of the air terminal in San José.
“It is crucial that this table includes representation of the airlines, which are the main users of the airport and that contribute 155,000 direct and indirect jobs and US$5 billion of added value, equivalent to 9% of Costa Rica’s GDP,” Cerdá argued.
EF sent consultations on this issue to the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, Aeris and the airlines, but at the time of publication they had not responded.