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News, analysis and comment from the Financial Times, the worldʼs leading global business publication
“Airlines want to defer payments to Europe’s air traffic controllers, worth about €500m a month, as they battle a deepening cash crisis from a virtual shutdown of international travel amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Carriers are collectively pushing back on paying February’s charges that are due next month to Eurocontrol, according to people familiar with the situation.
Eurocontrol co-ordinates national air traffic management agencies and is responsible for collecting route charges from carriers to fund air navigation facilities and services in the EU.
It comes as the global airline industry faces a cash crunch. The International Air Transport Association on Tuesday said the sector will need up to $200bn in emergency support as the travel industry bleeds cash in the face of a global lockdown.
The airlines’ main trade body has warned that the majority of carriers face running out of money within two months because of the sudden halt in international flights by governments attempting to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
A spokeswoman for A4E, the European airline trade body, said it was asking governments in the region to defer the payment of air traffic control charges due as well as waiving aviation taxes at EU or national level to help the sector’s future recovery.”