European airlines plead for rescue package as coronavirus crisis intensifies

LONDON (Reuters) - European airlines on Tuesday called on governments to draw up a package of measures including deferring taxes to rescue the struggling industry as the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic deepens.

In an open letter to EU transport ministers ahead a ministerial meeting on Wednesday, the European airlines industry group A4A said Brussels should extend until October the suspension of a rule requiring airlines to run most of their scheduled services or else forfeit landing slots.

It also asked authorities to defer air traffic control (ATC) charges and aviation taxes.

“In order to ensure that as many airlines as possible survive the present difficulties and can help drive the economic recovery when restrictions related to the virus are lifted, a comprehensive package of measures is urgently required,” it said.

Reporting by Sarah Young; Writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Louise Heavens