NATS to benefit from £92 million in COVID-19 financial support
Following EUROCONTROL securing a loan of £1.1 billion for European ANSPs, NATS will be eligible for up to £92 million in COVID-19 support.
The UK, along with other European states, has supported the inter-governmental organisation, EUROCONTROL – which manages charging for air navigation services across Europe – in securing a loan of £1.1 billion to maintain critical air navigation services, which have been affected by the fall in air traffic as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the UK’s air navigation service provider (ANSP), NATS will be eligible to receive up to £92 million in support for its regulated en-route business, enabling it to continue providing its services during the health crisis. In particular, the financial support will be used to ensure the continuation of essential cargo flights and ensuring the organisation can return to full operations at the appropriate time in order to help the recovery of the aviation sector.
Grant Shapps, the UK’s Transport Secretary, said: “The effect of coronavirus is being felt right across the aviation sector, which is why we have announced an unprecedented package of support measures to help firms through this extremely testing period. Air navigation service providers rely on airlines operating for their revenue, so this support will enable them to continue providing their safety critical services, as we help stranded Brits get home and transport vital goods and medical supplies.”
Following the announcement by the UK government in early April 2020 that UK airlines would be able to temporarily defer payments for route charges for up to 14 months, this new arrangement provides financial relief to air navigation service providers also facing disruption as a result of COVID-19.
The UK government holds a 10 per cent share in the vote for any such action passed by EUROCONTROL and voted in favour of pursuing the loan. Founded in 1963, the organisation has 41 member states and is not an agency of the EU.