The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) has written an open letter to all European institutions and member states pleading for urgent assistance to help avoid the collapse of the regional airline sector.

ERA has written to all European institutions and member states urging for liquidity support to maintain European connectivity and competition levels from the EU’s Internal Market for Aviation which supports small and medium-sized airlines. With airlines rapidly haemorrhaging cash rapidly, ERA is calling for governments to assist regional carriers through state aid, public loans and deferment of other payments owed.

ERA represents more than 60 European airlines

The regional market helps maintain vital connectivity within Europe, especially within peripheral regions and remote islands. ERA represents more than 60 European airlines and the organisation has said it is essential that financial relief reaches smaller operators which maintain services to communities reliant on aviation for their tourism and economic wellbeing.

Montserrat Barriga, ERA’s Director General, said: “We currently benefit from a truly European model that has been preserved for many years, and now more than ever, needs to be guaranteed and protected. ERA is asking for European institutions and member states to take courageous, decisive and immediate action that could indeed save the unique European airline ecosystem and the connectivity levels that citizens currently benefit from. This is our most desperate time. European regional aviation will be instrumental and a key element to our continent’s economic recovery and cannot be allowed to fail as a result of this silent killer.”

In addition to this action, ERA is advocating temporary relief measures to be implemented for Regulation EU261, allowing delayed refunds to passengers for up to 12 months or refundable vouchers instead of immediate cash refunds. The temporary measure would ensure travellers continue to benefit from vital services provided by their local airline in the future.