ERA has issued this statement:
In an open letter to all European institutions and member states, European Regions Airline Association (ERA) pleads for urgent and swift help to save Europe’s regional airlines and to avoid the total collapse of the sector.
ERA has written to all European institutions and member states urging for liquidity support to maintain European connectivity and competition levels benefited from the EU’s Internal Market for Aviation, by supporting small and medium-sized airlines. Regional operators provide vital connectivity in and around the regions of Europe, including peripheral regions and remote islands.
The ramifications of COVID-19 are not over exaggerated. Airlines are haemorrhaging cash rapidly and need urgent assistance to survive this crisis in the form of state aid, public loans and allowing the deferment of other payments. ERA represents more than 60 European airlines and it is essential that financial relief reaches these smaller operators that maintain services to European territories and local communities reliant on aviation for their tourism and economic well being.
In addition, ERA advocates temporary relief measures to be implemented for Regulation EU261, allowing delayed refunds to passengers for up to 12 months or refundable vouchers instead of immediate cash refunds. Passenger claims are fully understood, but this temporary measure would ensure travellers continue to benefit from unique and vital services provided by their local airline in the future.
Montserrat Barriga, ERA Director General, says: “We currently benefit from a truly European model that has been preserved for many years, and now more than ever, needs to be guaranteed and protected. ERA is asking for European institutions and member states to take courageous, decisive and immediate action that could indeed save the unique European airline ecosystem and the connectivity levels that citizens currently benefit from. This is our most desperate time. European regional aviation will be instrumental and a key element to our continent’s economic recovery and cannot be allowed to fail as a result of this silent killer.”