Romania's airport traffic has plunged by almost 95 percent since the declaration of the state of emergency on March 15, causing huge financial losses, said David Ciceo, president of the Romanian Airports Association (AAR) and general manager of the Cluj International Airport.
"Traffic at Romanian airports has plummeted almost 95 percent since the declaration of the state of emergency, which has led to huge financial losses. Given that rail and road traffic have opened on June 1, and that the neighboring countries Bulgaria, Hungary or Serbia already allow flights to foreign destinations, we are calling for the lift, after June 17, of flight restrictions for the countries where the number of coronavirus cases is declining, such as Germany, Switzerland, Belgium or Austria. We have implemented all the measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 and for passenger safety. Romanian airports operate in a highly competitive market, and if flight restrictions are maintained, we believe that we will be at a huge disadvantage against the airports in neighboring countries," David Ciceo said in an AAR statement.
According to the cited source, in the current context generated by the Covid-19 pandemic which has severely affected civil aviation, Transport Minister Lucian Bode and the general managers of AAR member airports met on June 11 in Bucharest, at the initiative of the Association. David Ciceo, general manager of the 'Avram Iancu' International Airport of Cluj and AAR president, proposed as the main topic on the agenda of the meeting the lifting of restrictions for flights from Romania and the resumption of air traffic with the countries at low epidemiological risk.
Minister Bode agreed with the AAR requests and took steps for air traffic with countries at low epidemiological risk to be resumed. At the same time, the Transport Minister said that he will support airports to overcome the financial crisis they face and proposed a meeting next week in Bucharest between airport managers and the Minister of Public Finance, the Minister of Development and the Labor Minister.
The participants also discussed the development of a state aid scheme for airports, the possibility of making airports eligible for state-guaranteed loans, but also the application of the Emergency Ordinance for the establishment of active support measures for employees and employers in the context of the epidemiological situation caused by the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
The Romanian Airports Association has 23 members - 16 civil airports and 7 companies operating in the field of aviation. AAR represents and promotes the interests of airports before the national authorities and cooperates permanently with international institutions in the field, having an important role in the development of the Romanian civil aviation.