Airport fees soar 62%
European carriers have slammed a 62% rise in fees for using Polish airports.
The Association of European Airlines (AEA) said the Polish air authorities (PANSA) had also slapped a 32% increase on fees for flying across the country.
AEA, which represents leading carriers including BA and Lufthansa, said the increase was to compensate for loss of traffic from the recession.
It said Polish airspace covered 300 sq kilometres and was in a "key position" straddling both north-south and east-west routes.
Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, the AEA's secretary general, while airlines were suffering "the most extreme conditions they have ever know,some sectors of the industry consider themselves immune to the realities of the crisis."
He added: "While we struggle to keep our costs down in the face of vastly reduced revenues, our suppliers make our situation worse by putting their prices up.
"We can't turn to anyone else to guide us through Polish airspace; we either pay what they demand, or don't fly."
It said PANAS's decision to increase its charges ignored a letter sent by EC vp Antonio Tajani to ATM service providers urging them not to raise charges.
AEA said PANSA was the only organisation increasing its charges during lean times.
It said others "had equally sought to squeeze more revenues out of their airline customers to compensate for weaker business volumes."
AEA's remarks come a week after it hit out at a 10% increase in health tests for aircraft and passengers arriving in the US.
The new America charges, imposed by the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS,) are due to come into effect on November 1.
"Will airlines fly longer routes to avoid these (Polish) charges?" Mr Schulte-Strathaus asked.
"For some, it will make economic sense to do so, but at what cost to the environment? This behaviour shows how badly we need a Single European Sky".
AEA, which holds its general assembly in Dubrovnik this week, forecast last week that member carriers would lose €2.9bn this year.