President of ACI Europe publishes open letter asking for COVID-19 relief
The letter, titled COVID-19: Aviation Relief Programme, calls on EU transport ministers and the European Commission to adopt supportive measures.
Jost Lammers, the President of ACI Europe, has published an open letter to European transport ministers and the European Commission – ahead of the meeting of EU transport ministers on 18 March 2020 – asking for coronavirus (COVID-19) relief for the European aviation industry.
The letter, titled ‘COVID-19: Aviation Relief Programme’, outlines the severity of the impact the virus has had on the sector: “Preliminary figures show that passenger traffic at EU/EEA/Swiss and UK airports decreased on average by 54 per cent last week (9 March to 15 March 2020), down from 24 per cent the preceding week (2 March to 8 March 2020). We now estimate that these airports will collectively lose over 100 million passengers in the first quarter of this year, compared to a business as usual scenario.”
Lammers continued, stressing how these decreases in passenger traffic as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak affects airports directly: “For airports, falling passenger traffic immediately translates into lost aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenues which they rely upon to operate, maintain and develop their facilities. For now, ACI Europe’s revised forecast shows Europe’s airports losing €2 billion in revenue just in the first quarter of the year (before even factoring in the ban on entry into the Schengen area). These losses will further deepen in the coming months.”
As a result, Lammers and ACI Europe outlined within the letter supportive measures that should be adopted by the European Commission and EU/EEA States and Switzerland in order to protect the industry from the effects of COVID-19 as much as possible:
- Safeguarding airports’ operational and business continuity over the coming weeks and months by providing extraordinary and urgent funding and cash flow resources where needed – not least to ensure those air services deemed essential under the current circumstances. This funding needs to be available under similar conditions as those that will be considered for airlines.
- Preserving airports’ economic and financial resilience so as to allow airports to return to normal operations as soon as possible and support the recovery of the wider economy. Airports act as engine of local and regional economic growth and employment. Many of them are indeed the largest employment site in their region and/or country. This means that their own standing and capabilities directly support that of their communities. In this regards, it is essential for them to preserve their long term strategic investment – including those relating to decarbonisation efforts.
The letter in its entirety can be read here.