By Andra Beltz
The Bucharest authorities have started discussions with the European Commission in order to be able to allocate about 130 million euro of financial support to the Romanian airlines Tarom and Blue Air, Transport Minister Lucian Bode said in an intervention with Realitatea Plus.
Both companies were strongly affected by the crisis triggered by the pandemic with the new coronavirus, as many of the flights were suspended.
“Air traffic at the European level decreased by 90% compared to the same period last year. For Romania, the decrease is almost 94%. Dramatic ”, said the Minister of Transport, Lucian Bode.
Romania has also decided to temporarily give up flights to Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium and other countries where there have been numerous cases of illness with the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, but also domestic flights.
“For airlines, if we wait for the next 30 days to be in the emergency, it will be very late. That’s why we started discussions with the European Commission. We will ask for help to compensate for the effects of the pandemic. We are talking about 65 million euros for each company, so somewhere at 130 million euros would be needed to save the two companies: Tarom and Blue Air (…) We made a common note to the Competition Council, because through them we make these requests to the European Commission ”, declared the Minister of Transport, Lucian Bode.
According to him, in parallel it is negotiating with the companies from which Tarom leased in operational leasing aircraft, to delay the payment of installments.
“We are in talks with suppliers to rethink these leases, both with Boeing and ATR. We are negotiating the postponement of these rates ”, added the head of Transport. In addition, Lucian Bode says that it does not rule out that some of Tarom’s employees will enter into technical unemployment in the next period. “As things stand today, I do not think this can be avoided,” said the Minister of Transport.
The Tarom situation was a difficult one even before the crisis triggered by the pandemic triggered by COVID-19. The last year with profit for the airline, in which the Romanian state through the Ministry of Transport holds over 97% of the shares, was 2007.
The European Commission had agreed in February that the Romanian state would grant TAROM a temporary loan worth about 36.7 million euros (about 176 million lei). From this money the company would have to pay the rates for the new aircraft that entered its fleet. The loan has to be repaid in 6 months, otherwise the state must pay for the planes of the company it owns. The Minister of Transport says that although this aid for Tarom has the turn of the European Commission, the money has not yet reached the Tarom accounts.
And those at Blue Air need support during this time. The airline has already requested that a rescue loan be approved, in the form of a preferential interest loan granted in a major crisis situation, according to a press release from the operator. The representatives of the company claim that in order to maintain their activity, they need temporary financial support.
Financial support of 130 million euros for the airline companies Tarom and Blue Air
By Andra Beltz