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Brussels Airlines: Commission approves Belgian state aid

Credit: Belga

The European Commission has approved the Belgian state aid measure for Brussels Airlines, it confirms on Friday.

The airline will receive a loan of €287 million and a capital injection of €3 million to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

“The airline has been suffering substantial losses as a result of the travel restrictions that Belgium and other governments had to impose to limit the spread of the virus,” said Vice-President and Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

With the support package, “Belgium will provide SN Group, to which Brussels Airlines belongs, with the liquidity that it urgently needs to withstand the impact of the current crisis,” Vestager said.

The aid package was adopted under the Temporary Framework for State aid, which gives Member States more scope to support their economies in corona times. In the Commission’s view, however, it has been ensured that the Belgian State is adequately compensated for the risk borne by the taxpayer. There are also conditions attached to the aid which are intended to limit distortions of competition.

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The Federal Government and German parent company Lufthansa had reached an agreement in July on an aid package totalling €460 million for Brussels Airlines, which is facing significant operating losses and liquidity shortages due to the corona crisis.

In addition to the €290 million from Belgium, Lufthansa is also pumping EUR 170 million into its subsidiary. At the beginning of this week, the German government’s Economic Stabilisation Fund also gave its approval.

“With this news, the third pillar has been reached for our rescue and our structural competitiveness,” CEO Dieter Vranckx reacted. “We are relieved that the execution of the financial transaction can take place. This means that we are already focusing our attention on the timely implementation of our Reboot Plus transformation plan,” reacts CEO Dieter Vranckx.

The European green light is “important news for the employees of Brussels Airlines and the thousands of families for whom someone works in or around our national airport,” said Finance Minister Alexander De Croo. “The economic significance cannot be overemphasised. Brussels Airport is the second most important economic hub of our country and creates a lot of prosperity.”

The Brussels Times

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