Belgian airlines call for lifeline of more than half a billion euros
Share article:
Share article:

Belgian airlines call for lifeline of more than half a billion euros

© Brussels Airlines

Two airlines have requested emergency aid worth more than half a billion euros from the Belgian government.

The requests have come from Brussels Airlines, which has asked for €290 million, and from Tui Fly, with a request for €250 million.

The two are not alone. Other companies in the aeronautical sector are also looking towards the government in these difficult times. They include Air Belgium, Sabena Aerospace and baggage handlers Aviapartner and Swissport.

Though active in Belgium, mainly at Brussels Airport, the companies are not all Belgian-owned. Brussels Airlines is a subsidiary of the German airline Lufthansa, Tui Fly of the German travel group Tui.

The difficulties of the sector are in the hands of the government’s Economic Risk Management Group (ERMG) which has the unenviable task of trying to salvage the economy without breaking the bank.

The whole air travel sector is in crisis and asking for aid,” De Standaard reports one insider saying.

Both Aviapartner and Swissport – both active at Brussels Airport – have been their business cut by 90% since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, as flights were first cut to affected regions of the world, and later from Belgium when the country became an affected region itself.

That compares with the effect of the pandemic on the Belgian economy as a whole, reckoned by the National Bank to be a loss of about one-third. Small and medium-sized enterprises are the hardest-hit; Aviapartner, with a presence at 39 airports and a base in Belgium, is much larger and safer than Swissport, for example.

The paper quotes one expert who advises the government, via the ERMG, to operate strict but tough criteria for state aid.

Companies that were weak to begin with and who are likely to feel the impact of this crisis for a long time should be avoided,” the expert said.

And that, the paper concludes, is a description that fits many of the applicants for aid from the aeronautical sector.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Brussels Airport adds 10 flight destinations this winter
Some 130 destinations will be served from Brussels Airport this winter, the company announced on Monday, just a few days before the start of the ...
Brussels pharmacies report rush on rapid tests due to Covid Safe Ticket
Many pharmacists in Brussels have noticed a remarkable increase in the demand for Covid-19 tests this weekend, following the official expansion of ...
Students filmed naked on ULB campus given a warning
A group of students caught on camera mimicking sexual acts on the campus of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) have been issued an official ...
EU Digital Covid Certificate becomes an international success story
The European Commission adopted on Monday a report on the EU Digital Covid Certificate and its implementation across the EU. According to the ...
Belgian chocolatier agrees to $15 million settlement over misled consumers allegations
Internationally recognised Belgian chocolate manufacturer Godiva has reached a $15 million (€12.9 million) settlement after US consumers said they ...
‘Buying second home does not mean you are rich’: government disagrees on tax break
The Francophone liberal MR party and the Flemish socialist Vooruit party strongly disagree on the current scheme for tax benefits on people's second ...
EMA starts evaluating Pfizer vaccine for children over 5 years old
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started evaluating an application to extend the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to children ...
Energy prices: EU’s demand and supply dilemma in importing natural gas
The European Commission adopted last week a plan on how to tackle the rise in global energy prices in the short-term while relying on the transition ...
Tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels’ outskirts to airport
Works on a tram line connecting Brussels, the NATO headquarters and Brussels Airport in Zaventem, which could attract up to 10,000 passengers a day, ...
SKYFALL: European police complete counter-drone training in Antwerp
In a joint project between Belgium’s federal police and the Brussels Capital Ixelles Policing Area, 15 European police officers visited Antwerp to ...
Offshore wind farms could help reach climate neutrality by 2050
A study carried out by the Bureau fédérale du Plan (BFP) – an independent Belgian organisation that investigates questions of environmental and ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...