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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Spanish airports must sell water bottles for one euro

Por Rory

Aena has taken note of one of the most recurrent complaints of its passengers: the abusive price of water. The airport manager will oblige all convenience stores and vending machines that are located in the commercial spaces of all Spanish airports to have small bottles of water at the maximum price of one euro.

This requirement has already been incorporated into the bases of the new contests to award commercial spaces, and it is mandatory for convenience stores, where people can buy other items such as newspapers or souvenirs, which must have on their shelves and coolers bottles of 33 centiliters to one euro. In addition, in the contests of vending machines for food and beverages that same requirement is imposed, but in this case, the bottles have to be half a liter (50 cl), which will also cost one euro.

Currently, the contracts in which this condition is already in force cover 19 locations in seven airports (Madrid-Barajas, Palma de Mallorca, Bilbao, Tenerife Sur, Santiago, Vigo and Girona-Costa Brava). And another 16 stores are in tender at the airports of Madrid-Barajas, Alicante-Elche, Valencia, Barcelona-El Prat and Malaga-Costa del Sol.

Likewise, they already have bottles of 50 cl to one euro 134 vending machines from six airports (Tenerife Sur, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, León, Vitoria and Salamanca). And in the new machine contests for the rest of airports, the obligation is included that, at least, 50% of the water supply in each machine has the format of 50 centiliter bottles to 1 euro, according to the airport society.

The Airports Council International (ACI), the global association of airports to which Aena belongs, issued a recommendation in June 2015 for managers to ensure that there is a sufficient offer at the aerodromes of water bottles at a maximum price of one euro.

The Ombudsman also intervened in the case, which opened an investigation after receiving numerous complaints related to the excessive prices of some basic products, especially water, at Spanish airports. Precisely, the body's memory of last year reflects the commitment of Aena to put a maximum price per bottle of 1.60 euros. But the airport manager has gone beyond that promise to the Ombudsman and has adopted the recommendation of the ACI, lowering the price to one euro.

Aena has also responded to users' requests for more free water sources at airports and is considering implementing more. Currently, there are 193 water machines in its airport network, of which 41 are in common areas and the 152 remaining in the boarding area for passengers who have a ticket.