• Sun. Dec 10th, 2023

Dispute over rescue package for airport


Jun 5, 2023
Dispute over rescue package for airport

Andreas hoenig, dpa the airports in germany urgently need a lot of money – tax money. Otherwise, the lights threaten to go out at many locations, participants of the "air traffic summit" warned of politics and economics on friday. The corona crisis has caused passenger numbers to plummet, with no rapid improvement in sight. The airports have little revenue, but have to cover running costs. So much for the situation. But there is wrangling over a state rescue package of one billion euros.

Federal transport minister andreas scheuer (CSU) was unable to give the industry a firm commitment from the federal government at the digital conference. The final declaration states that the federal government and the federal states will look for financial solutions in the next two weeks. Before the summit, scheuer had called for a rescue package of one billion euros. On friday, he then proposed a 50:50 model: half of the responsibility should lie with the states and the municipalities in which airports are located, and 50 percent with the federal government.

Scholz rubs colleagues the wrong way

Finance minister olaf scholz (SPD), however, is first of all keen to pile on his colleagues. A spokesman said on friday that the ministry had "taken note" of the proposal. The cabinet had jointly approved the draft budget for 2021, which did not include such projects. With regard to the airports, it is important to the ministry of finance that the owners bear responsibility for them. This also affects the federal government where it is the owner. The federal government has stakes in the airports in berlin, koln-bonn and munich.

In view of the high costs for the federal government in the corona pandemic, scholz apparently wants to wait and see whether and how far the states will move – after all, they are the owners of most of the airports together with the neighboring municipalities. However, the state finance ministers and municipalities are not financially well off in corona times. So far, the reassurances have been correspondingly restrained.

Lower saxony, for example, has promised to help hanover airport. In NRW state government circles, it was said that support for airports was conceivable in principle, similar to that for local public transport. NRW has a stake in cololn/bonn airport, but also has five other international airports in the state. Federal and state governments had provided billions of euros in support for the public transport companies in view of the slump in passenger numbers – scheuer also reminded the public of this several times on friday.

At the same time, however, the federal states said that it was initially the federal government’s responsibility to provide the funding. "The federal government must come to an agreement on how the announced billion euros for the airport will be raised and distributed, said saarland’s transport minister anke rehlinger (SPD), who also chairs the conference of transport ministers. At the same time, she said: "we agreed at the aviation summit that it is our joint responsibility to balance the financial imbalances at the airports and to see what refinancing options are available." A viable solution must now be found as quickly as possible.

The industry, at any rate, tried everything to make clear the dramatic nature of the situation. The industry association BDL sees at least 60,000 of the 260,000 direct jobs under immediate threat. Many of its members were fighting for survival, reported stefan schulte, president of the german airports association (ADV). In principle, germany is decentralized and federally organized, therefore needs flat-covering airports as well as broadband cables. The corresponding structure must be maintained and financed through.

In a first step, the airports are demanding reimbursement of the so-called holding costs from the first shutdown period from march to june. ADV calculates that it cost 740 million euros to keep airports open for supply flights at the request of politicians. There is currently a de facto second shutdown, which means that medium-term cost reductions will also have to be achieved. Schulte rejected calls from the left and the environmental association BUND to close unprofitable regional airports like kassel-calden even before the crisis, also for reasons of climate protection: "we have to have this discussion calmly.


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