Changes in high speed in Spain. After months of negotiation and after the appearance in the equation of the National Market and Competition Commission (CNMC)Adif and Iryo, Ilsa’s trademark, have reached an agreement to modify the commitments adopted in railway liberalization, a process in which the Spanish-Italian company was awarded part of the network’s capacity together with the incumbent operator, RenfeY ouigoof the French SNCF.
The agreement adopted at the end of July extends the discount margin for possible adjustments in the programming, after making use of clause 7 of the framework agreement and modifying two others. This margin, which measures the total reduction in services that Ilsa could perform on those initially proposed in all corridors, it is not only set for the 2022/2023 financial yearbut in the two later ones.
Until now, Adif’s high-speed division had not seen favorably with many of Iryo’s claims, although it was always willing to negotiate some points on which consensus could be reached. The novelty in this process has been the National Commission of the Competition Market (CNMC)who has emerged as the referee of this pulse and has given the go-ahead to the pact after supervising the conditions.
Agreement was a matter of days, as he explained to Information this week Simone Gorini, CEO of Ilsa, in the first interview granted after landing in the Spanish company. “Competition’s role in defining the framework agreement as an independent regulatory body must be ensured,” claimed Gorini, whose cut proposal had been very aggressive with some destinationssuch as Alicante, where it wanted to reduce its commitments by approximately 80%.
For Adif it has been extremely important at all times not sign an agreement that distorted what was signed in 2019 and unbalance the playing field between the rest of the operators. It should be remembered that Iryo, Ilsa’s commercial brand, was awarded package B of the liberalization that year -the only one to which it was presented-, after offering to operate 70% of its capacity (package A was for Renfe and package C for Ouigo). And he was not the only one, since he pushed harder than Talgo either Ecorail.
The pretext for revising these agreements has been the pandemic and its effects on mobility, the impact of which can be seen in the evolution of the number of passengers. “The railway companies find themselves in a scenario in which mobility has not only not increased in accordance with the economic growth forecast when they requested the framework capacity, but it has not recovered, in annual terms, the levels prior to the pandemic“, Says the resolution of Competition, which is firm in the administrative channel.
The impact of Covid-19 has also been transferred to the rest of Iryo’s stakeholders. A clear example has been the train manufacturer Hitachisupplier of the Iryo trains, baptized as Freciarossa 1000 and known for being high-performance and state-of-the-art. The delay in deliveries has been another trigger to postpone its set-up, now set for November 25, a little later than what its president, Carlos Bertomeu, anticipated. on paper, Iryo should have started in the first half of this year.
Iryo is not the only one to change plans. Ouigo, the low-cost operator of the French SNCF, modified its release date in Spain for 2021 on several occasions due to the implementation of the state of alarm and doubts about when the Government was going to repeal it to return to normality. Recently, It has also modified its date to premiere in the corridor between Madrid and Valenciaalthough this time for reasons beyond his control.