Six smaller Greek airlines are calling for immediate financial backing in order to remain above water in view of plummeting traveler flows and imminent operational costs resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
In a joint letter to the finance ministry issued on Friday, Greece-based carriers Air Mediterranean, Blue Bird, Ellinair, GainJet, Lumiwings and Orange2Fly announced that they were in a “state of emergency” due to the coronavirus health crisis and are calling on the government to take immediate action and provide financial support.
In their letter, airline companies said that “liquidity had dried up, fleets are grounded, reservations and contracts have been canceled, passenger traffic has been cut to zero, revenues had vanished, while aircraft rental costs, premiums, aircraft maintenance costs, payrolls, parking fees were ongoing”.
The Greek airlines are warning that without state aid they will be forced to face collapse which will inevitably lead to the loss of thousands of jobs.
According to the letter, every grounded airplane costs approximately 10,000-15,000 euros a day over and above wage costs.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Covid-19 health crisis is expected to result in a sharp 46 percent decline in passenger demand against 2019 levels and is bound to put some 5.6 million jobs at risk while taking a 378-billion-dollar bite out of GDP supported by air transport.
In Greece meanwhile, aviation services companies SkyServ and Swissport said they had suspended their base operations at Athens International Airport (AIA) and in Thessaloniki due to a plunge in passenger traffic.
Indicatively, on March 24, passenger traffic through AIA tumbled by 97 percent to 1,728 passengers from 52,090 in the same period in 2019. Overall, in the first three weeks of March, AIA handled a total of 582,861 visitors compared to 1,110,308 in the same period a year ago.