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ACI Europe Urges European Governments to Support Airports

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Airports Council International (ACI) Europe has urged the European Commission to support airports as financial crisis worsens due to the Coronavirus disease.

ACI made the call on 4th November 2020 for an urgent EU Recovery Framework for Aviation. ACI also called for governments intervention in providing necessary funds that will bring the airports back on their feet.

The effect of the Coronavirus disease is felt mostly in the travel industry. In Europe, about 200 airports are already swinging towards bankruptcy. The recent travel restrictions and lockdown rules in different parts of Europe will make the financial situation worse in coming weeks. In previous months, the domestic air travel has been able to stay afloat in spite of the pandemic. With the new lockdown in place, domestic travels will also be affected.

Airports are calling for supports just as airlines are getting supports. Airports depend heavily on passenger traffic compared to airlines who can still make money from air freight traffic. Apart from this, airports only get paid after they have provided their service or after their facilities have been used.

The European governments have been responsive to the airlines and have provided them over 1.8 billion euros as financial aid. However, their counterparts in the airports have only received financial benefits to the sum of 840 million euros. ACI calls for urgent intervention to sustain the airports and help airport workers keep their jobs.

According to Olivier Jankovec, the Director General of ACI EUROPE, “Large scale job losses and insolvency are no longer worst case projections for Europe’s airports. We’re already looking down the barrel of the gun, and the crisis continues to deepen. The situation requires urgent and decisive action with an ad hoc Recovery Framework for Aviation at EU level enabling support beyond 2021 and Governments providing financial support accordingly. That should include as a priority extending supportive unemployment schemes for all staff working at airports, compensating airports for lost revenues and supporting the rebuilding of air connectivity up to 2023.”

Earlier, the European Commission extended its Temporary Framework to support companies affected by the pandemic till mid of 2021. ACI calls that the Temporary Framework should be extended to the end of 2021. Not that alone, ACI wants a Recovery Framework for Aviation that has the key measures below:

  • Compensation for damages due to covid-19 to remain available for airports for as long as travel restrictions by Member States are preventing the recovery of air traffic.
  • A common framework allowing States to establish Air Connectivity Restart Schemes. These targeted and time limited schemes would allow support for the resumption of air routes suspended due to the pandemic until 2023 through a degressive per passenger contribution – on a non-discriminatory basis. 
  • Emergency Public Service Obligation to remain in place until the end of 2021.
  • Immediate and longer-term adjustments to the 2014 Aviation State aid guidelines to extend the possibility for airports to receive both operating and investment aid – with a particular focus on the financing of climate action and sustainability projects.  

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