European airlines that are suffering as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak will be able to postpone the payment of air traffic control fees after a deal was reached between EUROCONTROL Member States today. Airlines can now defer up to €1.1 billion in fees due to air traffic management companies over the coming months – undoubtedly a welcome measure considering the dramatic drop in flights operating in European airspace.
The 90% decline in operations has hit airlines hard, causing a sudden and significant cashflow problem which is likely to persist for several weeks, if not months. EUROCONTROL, an inter-governmental organisation consisting of 43 states, aims to achieve safe and seamless air traffic management across Europe, said the move would provide much needed short-term liquidity for the airlines.
“This payment deferral will ease the immediate burden on airlines and it provides certainty on financial planning to both airlines and the air navigation service providers (ANSPs) on when payments will be made after the crisis has abated,” the organisation said.