Europe’s airlines need additional government support measures to manage unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.
A4E fully welcomes today’s decisive action by members of the European Parliament — following the lead of EU Member States on 20 March, granting airlines a temporary waiver on the airport slots 80/20 rule through 24 October 2020. The waiver was initially proposed until 30 June 2020, however, A4E had requested an extension for the duration of the summer period to give airlines and airports maximum certainty and flexibility in adapting their operations.
“We applaud EU Member States and the European Parliament for their swift action, which will help European aviation to better cope with this unprecedented crisis while also avoiding unnecessary CO2 emissions”, said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director, Airlines for Europe (A4E).
The latest IATA estimates project a 46% drop in passenger demand across Europe in 2020 – the highest among all regions, globally, with a €69 bn ($76 bn) loss in passenger revenues. Such a decline puts at risk about 5.6 million jobs and €342 bn ($378 bn) in GDP supported by air transport. To alleviate the financial pressure carriers are facing, A4E is asking the EU Institutions and national governments for additional urgent support measures, including:
- Flexibility to allow airlines to offer passengers rebooking or refundable vouchers as an alternative to immediate refunds in the event of cancellations caused by the pandemic;
- A deferment or a suspension of all en-route air traffic control (ATC) charges for the remainder of 2020;
- A deferment or a suspension of aviation ticket taxes.
These measures should be introduced and implemented as a matter of priority by the EU Institutions and Member States in the coming weeks.