March 18, 2020 / 12:24 PM / 23 days ago

Belgian government holds talks with airline and travel sectors

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The Belgian government held talks with representatives from the country’s airline and travel industries on Wednesday as they seek state support to help with their fight for survival in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The government said it met a delegation that included Brussels Airlines, Brussels airport and travel operator TUI (TUIGn.DE) on Wednesday morning to discuss the impact on the sectors.

Belgian business daily De Tijd earlier reported that Brussels Airlines had written to the government with an urgent request for 200 million euros ($219 million). The airline is winding down operations ahead of a full suspension of flights for four weeks from Saturday.

The airline, a subsidiary of Germany’s Lufthansa (LHAG.DE), confirmed it was requesting support from the government but declined to specify the amount.

“We can confirm that we have sought support, but there is no question of the airline going bankrupt,” a spokeswoman said.

Fellow Belgian airline Air Antwerp, which runs services to London City Airport and via a codeshare from Amsterdam to other British airports, also announced on Wednesday that it would be suspending flights from Sunday until April 10.

(This story clarifies services of Air Antwerp.)

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop and Ilona Wissenbach; Editing by David Goodman

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