The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the entire transport sector hard. EPF was invited to a Round Table organised jointly by DG MOVE and DG COMP, to discuss with all relevant stakeholders the way forward towards a sustainable recovery strategy for the sector.
EPF has stressed the following points:
- Firstly, in the short term, protection in case of airline insolvency is very important – not only to protect passengers’ basic rights, but also to restore their confidence as consumers.
- Secondly, but related to the first point, EPF calls upon the European Commission to monitor and enforce compliance with the Air passenger rights Regulation, notably the right to cash reimbursement.
- Thirdly, there is the issue of state aid to airlines. The decisions taken today must be considered in a broader, long-term perspective and assessed against the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environment.
In EPF’s view, state aid to airlines must meet a number of conditions:
- it should be temporary and take the form of a loan that must be repaid
- it should be guided by the principles of market efficiency and connectivity, i.e. it should only be used to support air services that are needed to ensure connectivity & cannot be fulfilled by another, more environmentally friendly, mode of transport
- it should come with strict social obligations towards both staff and passengers.