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Friday, 12 October, 2001, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Airlines ask EU for more aid
Lufthansa plane takes-off at Frankfurt Airport
European carriers are unhappy with existing aid
European airlines have told the European Commission they need further state aid on top of measures announced on Wednesday to support the industry after the attacks on 11 September.


We have already told the American authorities that we can't accept that American companies use the support and the subsidies that they have received already for making unfair competition in the transatlantic market

Loyola de Palacio
Transport Commissioner
The airline executives, led by Air France chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta, met with Transport Commissioner Loyola de Palacio and warned the aid package was inferior to the what Washington was offering US airlines.

"They were making the point as forcefully as they could that the aid which the US is getting is very much out of proportion to what's been offered to the Europeans," Association of European Airlines (AEA) spokesman David Henderson told Reuters.

The Commission said it would not allow US airlines to use their $15bn (10.4m; 16.6bn euros) bailout to slash fares on transatlantic routes.

Subsidy abuse 'unacceptable'

"We have already told the American authorities that we can't accept that American companies use the support and the subsidies that they have received already for making unfair competition in the transatlantic market," Ms de Palacio told journalists.

Airlines also said they needed more guarantees about the regulations governing landing slots at airports and on governments covering the extra insurance costs incurred on war risks since 11 September.

But the transport commissioner gave the airlines no new undertakings ahead of the EU transport ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday.

The chairmen of Lufthansa, KLM, Iberia, Alitalia as well as a representative of British Airways attended the meeting.

Aid package

On Wednesday, Ms de Palacio announced a limited package that would allow European governments to help airlines, after the 11 September attacks pushed the crisis-bound industry into turmoil.

Ms de Palacio said the package was just a first step and that "horizontal", non-discriminatory aid to all EU airlines might be considered.

The US government has offered carriers aid totalling $15bn, including $5 billion in cash.

European governments have to limit their cash aid to cover the four-day period immediately after the attacks, when US airspace was closed, so that there are no market distortions or subsidies to lame-duck airlines, the Commission said.

There are no previsions in the Commission's charter that would allow it offer direct financial aid to European carriers.

See also:

10 Oct 01 | Business
Full EU statement on airline aid
04 Oct 01 | Business
EU complains over Swissair aid
23 Sep 01 | Business
Airlines receive $15bn aid boost
12 Oct 01 | Business
Round-up: Aviation in crisis
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