The current crisis has caused aviation traffic in Europe to plunge by 90%, putting the whole sector in jeopardy. Last week, EUROCONTROL Member States agreed to help airlines operating in Europe by deferring their payments of air traffic control fees worth €1.13 billion for periods between seven and thirteen months. While this provides relief for one branch of the aviation industry, it clearly shifts the burden to ANSPs, who will find it difficult to maintain financial stability without further support.
CANSO therefore supports the related proposal adopted yesterday, which enables EUROCONTROL to apply for funding which guarantees a minimum level of financing for European ANSPs until September. Under this, EUROCONTROL is authorised to take a loan worth up to €1.27 billion, which it will use to pay ANSPs 51% of their operating costs for four months. EUROCONTROL will recover these sums through the deferred fees and other later payments due to ANSPs.
CANSO Director General, Simon Hocquard said: "We are very pleased that with the adoption of this second package, EUROCONTROL Member States have taken a significant step forward in affording much needed financial security for our members. We continue to urge States and the European Commission to provide EUROCONTROL with all the support needed to secure the loan. ANSPs are already cutting costs, but as they have a mandate to keep Europe’s skies open, there is a limit to what savings are possible. With the drastic drop-off in their income, financial support is vital to maintain their essential services both in the coming months and during the eventual recovery of the aviation sector.
CANSO and its members worked closely with EUROCONTROL to put together this rescue package and to persuade Member States to support it. Airlines and ANSPs cannot survive without each other, and CANSO therefore welcomes this industry-wide solution.”