Airlines can defer air navigation services charges for using European airspace

(Photo: Adrian Pingstone / Wikimedia Commons)

The UK Government has announced that airlines will be able to temporarily defer the payment of air navigation charges – on flights that operated between February to May 2020 – for up to 14 months.

A statement issued on April 8 said the measure should provide financial relief to airlines struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In February, the ten largest UK airlines would have been expected to pay a total of £47.2 million for flights in European airspace. EUROCONTROL, the organisation which manages charging for navigation services across Europe, estimates that European airlines could defer €1.1 billion in route charges in total thanks to the move.

The UK government statement said it holds a 10% share in the vote for any such action passed by EUROCONTROL and voted in favour of the proposals, helping protect UK airlines and ease some of the current financial burdens faced by the sector as a result of the impacts coronavirus.

The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “This is a very difficult time for airlines, but they continue to provide a vital service bringing UK citizens home and transporting vital medical supplies.

“Deferring these charges will further help airlines, on top of the unprecedented package of economic measures recently announced by the Chancellor, to support businesses through this challenging period.”