MIAMI – The German government has agreed to further support airports as the pandemic continues to depress the country’s aviation industry. The decision comes as a response to tackle the loss of jobs and preserve airports’ infrastructure.
According to the joint statement between the German government and the aviation industry, the financial options will be discussed over the next two weeks. The additional collective efforts from the federal and state governments will be based on providing medium-term support.
Regarding the financial resources, the German industry is demanding compensation of up to US$1.2bn, according to Reuters. This amount should help cover the costs of keeping airports open among low traffic stats due to the ongoing lockdowns.
Although this compensation sum was not implied in the statement, Reuters reports that the government did mention how it plans to bring the aid. Currently, Germany is examining possibilities to bridge the revenue loss at the state air traffic control association, DFS.
Other Industry Concerns
Additionally, the government said it wants to increase long-haul routes. Therefore, it will seek to establish pre-defined testing and quarantine regimes. Lufthansa (LH) just launched “negative only” flights between Munich (MUC) and Hamburg (HAM) airports using rapid tests.
Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer said that the downtrend in passenger numbers implies that, at least, 25-30% of the 180,000 jobs at German airports are at risk. While taking into consideration the most recent airport inauguration, Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), Reuters said that it was not expected that German airports made enough revenue to pay back their debts.
Alongside the state support, Scheuer said that Germany also wants to prevent ‘dumping prices’ for airline tickets in the future. This means that the government expects to avoid a lower cost in tickets compared to taxes and fees.
So far in 2020, German airports have been holding repatriation and cargo flights with some restrictions in passenger operations. Now, as a second COVID-19 wave rises in Europe, airports can expect government support amid ongoing travel restrictions.
Featured photo: Berlin Brandenburg Airport. Photo: Matti Blume.