Iberia will appeal to the National Court the tender by which Aena has awarded runway or handling services at eight airports in its network to other companies. The airline will ask the judge to suspend the awarding of the contracts and, on the other hand, the annulment of the resolution of the Central Administrative Court of Contractual Resources (TACRC) that it received this Friday. The administrative body dependent on the Ministry of Finance has not gone into assessing the substance of the matter, as it considers that the public procurement regulations are not applicable because the handling contract is “a specific legal relationship.”

Iberia will appeal against the decision of the TACRC “requesting, on the one hand, the suspension of the award of the contract and, on the other, the annulment of the TACRC resolution so that this court can rule on the merits of the matter and annul the decision.” awarding of the handling tender,” the company assured EL MUNDO.

For its part, Aena has celebrated the decision and told EFE this Friday that it “hopes, first of all, that Iberia finally accepts that it has lost numerous handling licenses simply because other companies have presented better proposals than its own and, Secondly, that Iberia contributes to ensuring that the transition process is carried out in an orderly manner for the good of workers and passengers.”

Iberia presented the challenge to the tender on October 20, almost a month after its resolution, after losing the license for eight of its main airports and considering that there were “irregularities” in the award.

The airline based its claim on the fact that, in its opinion, “the legal procedure for processing the file” had been violated, which had caused its “defenselessness.” In his opinion, Aena’s resolution had not been sufficiently argued in favor of confidentiality, which is why Iberia was denied “access to sufficient information to know the motivation for the scores.”

From the point of view of the Spanish airline of the IAG group, the “little” information to which Iberia had had access revealed “obvious irregularities that have an impact on the scores.” Furthermore, he argued that essential issues such as “the coherence between the business plan and the technical offer” have not been analyzed.

On November 7, the TARC admitted the precautionary suspension of the award until resolving the merits of the matter. Barely a month later, the final resolution has arrived, and after it the airport manager could sign the contracts with the different successful bidders.

Iberia’s appeal contains strong criticism against the procedure carried out by Aena, which it accuses of falsifying the award with a “technical report that is not exactly such” and that was limited to a PowerPoint presentation of 188 slides “that did not contains no type of motivation regarding the application of the criteria subject to value judgment, nor of the direct elimination criteria (some of which also required value judgment)”.

“It is a new crude attempt to, through the mere accumulation of paper, attempt to generate the appearance of a voluminous expression of reasons for the award when there is nothing about it,” Iberia warned.

As stated in the TARC resolution, once the administrative route has been exhausted, Iberia must now bring its claim before judicial authorities, filing an appeal before the Contentious-Administrative Chamber of the National Court, within a period of two months from receipt. of the notification that occurred this December 1, according to the newspaper El País.

The airline has confirmed to Europa Press that they will appeal to the highest court, a process that can take years to resolve. Currently, the airline’s lawyers are meeting to decide the next steps to take.

The initial result of the contest, which was announced in September, was a severe blow to Iberia’s business, which lost all the large aerodromes where it was present for passenger traffic, except for Madrid-Barajas. Iberia Airport Services gave up the airports of Barcelona-El Prat, Palma de Mallorca, Málaga, Alicante, Gran Canaria, Tenerife South, Ibiza and Bilbao, although it gained other small and medium-sized airports such as Zaragoza, Valladolid, Burgos, Huesca, Logroño, Salamanca , Almería and Murcia.

When the result was announced, Iberia expressed its rejection and “perplexity”, and assured that it would request a review of the scores and that it would take “appropriate actions.” “The qualification and competitiveness demonstrated by Iberia Airport Services, which, over the last seven years, has carried out a profound transformation and has continued to significantly add new clients to its portfolio with a high degree of satisfaction, has not been reflected in the result of this contest,” expresses the company run by Fernando Candela.

The tender, which will allow the operation of the service for a period of seven years, has a value of more than 5,000 million euros in revenue, and has been awarded to 15 of 17 large groups, both national and international, which submitted 168 offers. .

The groups that benefit most from the award are Groundfource, owned by Globalia (parent of Air Europa), which has obtained 12 licenses for 12 airports, maintaining those with the highest traffic (Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Palma de Mallorca, Málaga, Alicante, Gran Canaria, Valencia, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Zaragoza, Fuerteventura and Bilbao); the Belgian Aviapartner, which obtains 13 licenses in 15 airports and launches in Madrid, Barcelona and Alicante; and the British Menzies, with seven licenses in seven airports.

The new licenses will come into force during the first months of 2024, before the summer season. In the Canary Islands they will start months later, since the high season on the islands is winter.