Tying climate pledges to € 26 billion airline bailout, according to European Greens | Airline industry
Airlines are seeking € 26bn (£ 22.7bn) in state aid to deal with economic fallout from coronavirus, say environmental activists, who accuse governments of failing to associate binding weather conditions to negotiations.
Air France, which has secured € 7 billion in loans and loan guarantees from the French government, and Lufthansa, which are currently negotiating a € 9 billion bailout with Berlin, topped the rankings of the airline rescue tracker compiled by Carbon Market Watch, Greenpeace and Transport & Environment.
European governments have officially accepted € 11.5 billion in financial aid for airlines, including a £ 600 million loan from the British Treasury and the Bank of England for EasyJet. An additional € 14.6bn is under discussion, including £ 500 million, Richard Branson asks the British government to help Virgin Atlantic.
The industry is grappling with a massive drop in demand: Air travel has stalled, with no end in sight, due to travel restrictions linked to the pandemic.
Some governments are seeking to attach conditions to bailouts. The French Minister for the Ecological Transition, Élisabeth Borne, insisted that Air France was not receiving “a blank check”. The government has made “green commitments,” she said, including a 50% reduction in carbon emissions on domestic flights by 2024, as well as an investment in more fuel-efficient planes.
Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz announced that his government would not help Lufthansa’s Austrian Airways operation without getting something in return, such as finding jobs in his country; while the vice-chancellor, Werner Kogler, said he would “assume” that a rescue would only occur with green conditions.