Eurocontrol member states have agreed on payments of up to €1,1 billion in total deferred for the period from February to May, with the COVID-19 pandemic leading to a 90% slump of daily flights in Europe.
These are funds that air traffic controllers receive from airlines operating in the European air space.
In total the organization includes 41 European states.
“Many airlines contacted Eurocontrol to confirm that they would not be in a position to facilitate their next payments,” as Eamonn Brennan, director of Eurocontrol, said.
Even though, according to Brennan, the measure was not easy to conclude, as it engaged many participants and considerable funds, he emphasized:
“In times of crisis, Eurocontrol has to be seen to be relevant and helpful to the industry.”
The financial relief has surely been welcomed by the professional community, represented by, in particular, the European Regions Airline Association (ERA), the European Business Aviation Association, Airline for Europe (A4E) and Airlines International Representation in Europe.
Montserrat Barriga, ERA`s director general, commented:
“This swift action taken by the Eurocontrol member states will provide airlines with more flexibility as they financially plan for the future.
Aviation will be instrumental in Europe’s economic recovery, and financial relief measures are needed urgently to ensure our airlines can continue to operate, providing connectivity, once we move towards recovery.
Today’s announcement by Eurocontrol will certainly aid our airlines in this recovery process.”
A4E has highly appreciated the supporting measures, however pointing to the fact that short-torm liquidity coverage is not quite enough, as it only postpones the crisis.
The association`s managing director, Thomas Reynaert, has observed:
“Supporting short term liquidity will not be enough to ensure the survival of the aviation sector and preserve a functioning market for the passenger.
Further support measures, including a full-year waiver of ATC charges, would provide airlines with the flexibility needed to get back on their feet once the health crisis has passed.”
A4E organization is based in Brussels and represents such significant European air carriers as Lufthansa, Air France, KLM, easyJet, Ryanair, TAP Portugal and more.