The Canary Islands, visited by millions of Britons each year, are leading the way with a call to be made an “exception” from the 4.09 percent rise.

The Canary Government says it is unfair as the archipelago is an isolated territory and cannot be treated the same as the national airport network.

Minister of Tourism and Employment of the Government of the Canary Islands, Jéssica de León said the rise would harm tourism, their main industry.

She explained: “In the Canary Islands, the airports are elements of territorial cohesion and this increase will end up being paid by the residents of the islands and also by tourists.

“This announcement comes at a bad time with a horizon of uncertainty marked by inflationary swings, the entry into force of emission rights and the technical recession in Germany.”

The decision to introduce the 4.09 percent rise from March 1 has been taken by the Spanish airport authority AENA.

It has defended the increase, saying it is the first one for four years and only represents am extra 40 cents (34p) per passenger.

Minister of Transport, Óscar Puente insisted: “We still have the lowest rates and the best airports. We are going to introduce incentives to develop traffic from international airlines to regional airports.”

Airport taxes had not increased in the last four years, so these rates would still remain below those of 2019 despite this increase. Aena has taken into account inflation, the increase in energy costs (40 percent), salary improvements in the public company, of 3.5 percent, and the extra 1.8 percent for airport cleaning services.

Airlines had asked the Spanish Government to reject the increase due to a complex scenario of “uncertainties in the geopolitical and economic sphere that overshadow the horizon”.

In a statement, the employers’ association said it regretted that its requests had not been attended to.

“This increase decision does not favour the competitiveness of the sector and reduces its strength, in a context in which, although pre-crisis air traffic has recovered, there are still airlines in debt and the profitability of the airlines is still very low. This increase does not contribute to strengthening the sector, tourism and the economy as a whole,” said the Airlines Association.

Airlines had proposed a fare freeze or, failing that, a moderate increase of 1.5 percent.

Ryanair has filed a formal appeal, saying that “with a single action, Aena endangers Spain’s vital air connectivity, which constitutes the greatest threat to Spanish tourism since Covid. It will mean that airport charges will increase at all airports in Spain, including peripheral island regions such as the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, where air connectivity is essential.

The decision has also received criticism from the Spanish Tourism Board which has asked the Council of Ministers to reject such an increase as it would lead to an increase in the price of plane tickets.

It would also represent “a new setback” in the objective of maintaining the competitiveness of the Spanish tourism sector, which is being, once again, the main engine of the recovery of employment and the Spanish economy.