Thursday, October 28

Congress forces Aena to lower rents for shops and restaurants

The plenary session of the Congress of Deputies has agreed this Thursday, with the vote against the PSOE and the abstention of Podemos, to force Aena to lower the rents it charges to stores and restaurants at airports, which will mean a reduction in income from the airport manager of between 1,200 and 2,000 million euros in five years.

In the absence of the vote on the initiative, which will fix the position of the deputies of all political groups with representation in the Congress of Deputies, the PSOE has run out of sufficient support to avoid the approval of an amendment introduced in the Senate by Canarian Coalition to demand the rent reduction by Aena.

During the parliamentary debate, all the parliamentary groups have been in favor of this initiative, except Podemos, which has abstained, while the PSOE has not pronounced on its vote, but has defended that imposing a rent reduction from Parliament it will generate legal uncertainty.

Thus, the PP, Vox, Esquerra Republicana, Ciudadanos, the PNV, the PDeCAT and Nueva Canarias have advanced their support for this reduction, while Unidos Podemos has advanced its abstention. The PSOE, which rejected the amendment in the Senate, has criticized the measure, but has limited itself to saying that it will not support it.

The amendment was included in the bill to reform the Law of Land Transport Ordinance and modifies the contractual obligations of commercial premises with Aena, exempting the payment of the minimum guaranteed annual rent (RMAG) during the period of the state of initial alarm (from March 14 to June 20, 2020).

From then on, that guaranteed minimum rent that the premises must pay will be reduced proportionally depending on the volume of passengers at the airport where it is located with respect to the air traffic registered in 2019.

During the parliamentary debate, the ‘popular’ deputy has defended the modification of the contracts to adjust them to the traffic because, she has said, “it is something fair, reasonable, balanced, legal, and adjusted to the general interest.” Something questioned by Manuel Arribas, of the PSOE, who sees the modification contrary to current legislation and anticipates legal uncertainty.

“The situation of Aena cannot be understood”, has abounded Ferrán Bel (PDeCAT), while Ignacio López-Bas, of Cs, has indicated that Adif has adopted measures similar to the amendment in question. “Aena should not have olympically ignored the voice of popular sovereignty”, has asserted Joan Capdevila (ERC), recalling that, unanimously, “reasonable agreements” have already been requested. He has also criticized the “feeling of superiority” of the airport operator Pedro Quevedo (NC).

“This should not have come here,” confirmed Txema Guijarro, from Unidas Podemos, who believes that “the State should have an exemplary attitude” when it comes to modifying contracts in the face of this situation and that, with the amendment, ” sends a powerful message “:” You have to negotiate, Mr. Lucena, “in reference to the president of Aena, whose largest shareholder is the State.

The PNV, which resisted supporting the amendment in the Senate, has opted to endorse it in Congress for a “fairness” issue, Iñigo Barandiaran has defended, recalling that the Administrations have demanded that the private sector adapt the rental contracts to the shops

Last June, Congress unanimously approved in its Finance Committee a non-legislative initiative, at the ERC’s proposal, to demand “balanced agreements” with businesses located at airports. CC alludes to that initiative in its amendment, criticizing in its justification that “this unanimous mandate of Congress has not only been neglected by Aena, but to a great extent the conflict has intensified in recent weeks”, and denouncing that Aena demands the full payment of the RMAG and forces the total opening of the premises “with the threat of the imposition of serious penalties in the opposite case and the resolution of the contracts”.

Aena has assured that the approval of the amendment would suppose “a bankruptcy to the legal security and a legislative expropriation”, because “it deprives the judicial protection of who is harmed”, the national operator, “who would have to resign, by legal imperative, to the agreements reached or the favorable judicial resolutions, at the expense of its shareholders, among which is the Spanish State “.