Spain Raises Airport Taxes

The government of Spain has announced that it is raising airport taxes.

The amount of the increase depends on the airport, with the average being 18.9 percent. Taxes at the two busiest airports, however, will more than double. Madrid’s Barajas airport will increase from 6.95 euros to 14.44 ($8.64 to $17.94). Barcelona’s El Prat airport will go from 6.12 euros to 13.44 ($7.60 to $16.70).

Ryanair and Vueling have already passed the extra fee onto their passengers. Other airlines have yet to decide how to respond. The tax is retrospective for those who booked before July 2, 2012, and are traveling from July 1 onwards.

Spain is one of the most troubled economies of the Eurozone. It has recently been granted up to 100 billion euros ($124 billion) in bailouts for its banks and the government is planning harsh austerity measures in order to balance the books. With summer tourist season kicking into high gear, the increased tax will bring in tens of millions in much-needed funds, assuming it doesn’t turn away too many tourists.

[Photo of Madrid’s Barajas airport courtesy Andres Rueda]

Major Goya exhibition in Barcelona, Spain

The CaixaForum art gallery in Barcelona, Spain, has just opened a major exhibition on the famous Spanish artist Francisco de Goya.

Best known for his dark paintings of witches and Napoleon’s brutal invasion of Spain, Goya actually produced a broad range of work during a career that spanned almost seventy years and included paintings, drawings, prints and tapestries. He was very popular with royalty and produced many royal portraits.

Goya lived from 1746 to 1828, an era that straddled the transition from the Old Masters to a more modern style. The exhibition, which brings together almost a hundred works from all phases of his career, tracks his development as an artist.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the Caixa Foundation and Madrid’s El Prado art museum. The works are from the Prado’s collection and the Caixa Foundation is funding their stay in Barcelona as part of four planned collaborations.The artist is unusual in that he produced self-portraits throughout his life, sometimes even including himself in portraits of royal families. One of the most interesting self-portraits was done in the final years of Goya’s life and shows him as an old, feeble, but still spirited man. It’s titled I am Still Learning. That’s a good attitude for anyone to have.

Goya: Lights and Shadows runs from March 16 to June 24.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.