Airlines could get state aid.
April 28, 2010
The European Commission next week will consider allowing airlines to receive government aid because of the volcanic ash crisis when it hosts a meeting of European Union transport ministers in Brussels on May 4.
Airlines have been clamoring for compensation after the April 14 eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano led to the cancellation of 100,000 flights in the following six days and left 10-million passengers unable to travel. It was a potential nightmare for any incentive travel groups or meeting planners planning to return home.
Transport commissioner Siim Kallas said the disruption cost the travel industry, including airlines, an estimated €1.5 billion to €2.5 billion ($1.9-billion CDN to $3.3-billion CDN).
State aid to airlines normally is disallowed under EU competition law, but Kallas said he would discuss a temporary waiver, as long as it could be done without giving “unfair assistance.”
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