T&E: How to save airlines the right way

T&E: How to save airlines the right way

As the virus crisis continues to unfold, more and more airlines are grounding flights – some entirely. But carriers must take their responsibilities to society more seriously if they are to be given any public cash, says William Todts of Transport & Environment.

"There will be enormous consequences for an industry which prides itself in its ability to keep the world connected, whatever the circumstances. It will have even greater consequences for their millions of employees, who face an uncertain future.

There may be a case for supporting healthy airlines and their workers although it’s not as clear-cut as their CEOs make it out to be. Systematic, sector-wide bankruptcies of airlines would be disruptive. But many airlines, especially those who prudently built up cash reserves during good times, would survive.

However, letting otherwise healthy airlines go under, and waiting for new airlines to emerge from the wreckage, would delay the economic recovery further, and come with its own cost. Not least for the employees of those airlines, who we must try and support wherever possible. Governments must therefore strike a balance, between enough aid to keep the sector functioning effectively, and providing unconditional and excessive support which will spark a backlash. In striking that balance, a number of principles are key..."

To read the article in full, please see the EURACTIV website.