Crisis summit with Minister of Transport Scheuer: Airports and air traffic control are in financial distress – economy

Now it has another airline. The fourth largest German airline, Sundair, has launched a safeguard proceeding – a restructuring to prevent bankruptcy. After the bankruptcy of Germany, the holiday airline took over many routes and made profits. Then the pandemic caused the collapse of air traffic. Court-appointed restructuring engineer Lucas Flöther continues in Sundair, where he left. The caretaker had the same job at Condor.

Even in the eleventh month of the pandemic, air traffic suffers more than any other industry. There is no improvement in the view in autumn or winter. “We can’t cut costs fast enough to offset the drop in revenue,” said Alexandre de Juniac, head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). “The fourth quarter of 2020 will be extremely difficult and there is little indication that the first half of 2021 will be significantly better.”

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Lufthansa had to announce another billion minus on Thursday. The number of passengers remains low, many aircraft stand unnecessarily, which makes their value fall sharply. The loss in the third quarter was almost two billion euros. Revenues for the first nine months of the year fell from almost EUR 28 billion to EUR 11 billion. In the next few weeks, the group, which was the fourth largest airline group in the world before the crisis, is preparing for a kind of hibernation regime. Even the headquarters at Frankfurt Airport will be almost completely closed.

The airport could also get help

On Friday, Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr will brief the federal government on the situation at the air summit. Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) wants to talk about helping airports save air traffic infrastructure. Most German airports are state or semi-state, but not all municipalities are financially strong enough to mitigate losses in the corona crisis. Scheuer wants Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) to receive a billion euros in return, Transport Minister said this week.

Although the most important pillar of the aviation system in Germany has already been stabilized by the rescue package for Lufthansa, the financial difficulties of airports and air traffic control are growing week by week. Business representatives warn that the demand crisis threatens to turn into a structural crisis next year. From the industry’s point of view, it’s no longer just about dampening losses.

Almost no passengers: It hurts the airport. Photo: image / fossiphoto

“The dramatically deteriorating situation threatens the entire air traffic system,” said Matthias von Randow of Tagesspiegel. The executive director of the Federal Association of the German Aerospace Industry (BDL) warns against “irreparable structural breaks”. In Germany alone, there are 60,000 jobs with airlines, airports and service providers. “Debts accumulated during the crisis, for example through rescue loans, may also weaken financial strength in the coming years, with direct implications for investment in digitization and energy efficiency in aviation, for example,” von Randow said.

The head of BDL brings a long wish list on Friday. In order to support airports that have fallen red “through no fault of their own”, federal and state governments should bear the so-called reserve costs that result from – politically mandated – continued airport operations despite large-scale air closures. “The cost of this operating commitment increased to approximately 740 million euros from March to June alone,” he said.

The federal government should proceed with air traffic control

Given that the state air traffic administration has to anticipate high revenue losses in the coming years, the federal government should compensate through the federal budget and “take precautionary measures to ensure that the explosion of air traffic control charges does not disrupt the overall air traffic system next year. operation, “said von Randow. Over the next five years, the total will be around € 1.2 billion. Companies should also waive previously deferred costs of on-site security checks and bear them with the federal government.

In order to be able to travel more by air again, the criteria for travel restrictions would also have to be adapted to the actual level of knowledge about the spread of the virus. “A comprehensive classification of entire countries as risk areas is often not appropriate,” says von Randow. “Thanks to the test centers at the airports, we have a lot of data that we should use.”

Federal air traffic control also needs financial assistance. Photo: dpa

For example, the BDL suggests that the proportion of those entering the country who have tested positive should be taken into account when determining risk areas, and not just the local incidence. Example: For people coming from Italy, only about 0.2 percent of the tests at the airport are positive – the risk of being pulled in is low. In other countries, such as the Balkans, this risk is many times higher. Experience from the summer has shown that “the positive rate in traditional tourist destinations where passengers have followed the AHA rules has been negligibly low”.

Quick tests should also be discussed on Friday. The industry hopes that the deployment will allow flights to resume, for example to the US or Asia. In order to suppress the economic damage caused by travel restrictions, a “targeted testing strategy, ie binding negative tests on departure or return”, demanded in the Tagesspiegel the head of Lufthansa Spohr.

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