European airport trade body Airports Council International Europe (ACI EUROPE) is calling on the European Commission to urgently adopt an EU Recovery Framework for Aviation and for governments to provide the requisite funding to support airports – and the recovery of air connectivity from the impact it has received from Covid-19.
With close to 200 airports already facing the risk of insolvency, ACI Europe expects the financial situation of the European airport industry to worsen in the coming weeks due to the reinstatement of local restrictions and lockdowns in several countries.
“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,” said ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec.
Support should be extended until end of 2021
According to ACI Europe, in contrast to airlines which have benefitted from more than 31.8 billion euros in financial aid from European governments, the support extended to airports has so far remained limited – reaching 840 million euros.
The airport trade body said that the European Commission’s extension of its Temporary Framework that enables EU States to support the companies affected by the pandemic until June 2021, is insufficient to address its devastating and lasting impact on aviation and airports in particular.
ACI Europe said the Temporary Framework should be extended to the end of 2021 and must be supplemented by a Recovery Framework for Aviation including the following key measures:
– 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.
ACI Europe represent over 500 airports in 46 European countries. Its members facilitate over 90 percent of commercial air traffic in Europe.