Airlines to challenge new user charges ruling in Swiss Federal Administrative Court

16.12.2013

SWISS and further airport users affected (Edelweiss, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Germanwings and the Board of Airline Representatives [BAR] for Switzerland) are to lodge a formal appeal with the Swiss Federal Administrative Court against the approval by the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation

Fair competition within the aviation value chain

“We have a partnership with Flughafen Zürich AG,” stresses SWISS CEO Harry Hohmeister. “But we are compelled to take this action through our concerns for the competitiveness of Swiss aviation and our endeavours to ensure that the burdens and obligations within our industry are distributed fairly throughout the value chain.”

IATA estimates that the changes recently approved by the FOCA to the present user charges regime at Zurich Airport will cost the airport’s users an additional CHF 115 million between 2014 and 2017. Hub carrier SWISS will be hit particularly hard here, especially through the increase in aircraft parking charges.

The lodging of the formal appeal with the Swiss Federal Administrative Court will now defer the entry into effect of the proposed new user charge regime.

Abolition of CHF 5 supplementary noise levy not challenged

The airport’s users have based their appeal on a number of concrete complaints. These include the inappropriateness of the key used to assign assets to the aviation sector, the excessively high nature of the capital costs claimed and the lack of efficiency incentives for the airport operator.

The legal action initiated by SWISS and its fellow airport users does not extend to the proposed abolition of the present CHF 5 supplementary levy to fund noise abatement measures. This levy has nothing to do with the airport’s user charges, and SWISS has no objection to its repeal.