The Tourism Board calls on the Government to prevent the sale of Air Europa to a foreign firm

The Tourism Board calls on the Government to prevent the sale of Air Europa to a foreign firm

William GinesFOLLOW, CONTINUEMadrid Updated: 03/01/2022 1:32 p.m.
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Tourism is mobilized to prevent
Air Europa ends up in the guts of a foreign airline,
an option that is gaining strength as the days go by. The Tourism Board, an organization that brings together the main companies in the sector, has issued a forceful statement in which it demands that the Government take into account the impact that this option would have on the Barajas hub if this option were to be consummated.

Iberia, which has been negotiating the purchase of Air Europa with Globalia for more than two years, assures that this operation would allow the Madrid airport to be strengthened so that it not only looks to Latin America, but also to Asia. According to the airline, the sum of both companies (with a strong presence in Barajas) would allow the airport to grow, which would look at giants such as Paris or Frankfurt face to face.

In recent weeks, however, negotiations between the two sides have cooled. And other companies, such as Air France, have been interested in Air Europa. A situation that has set off the alarms of the Tourism Board, which considers that if Air Europa were bought by a foreign company, Barajas would lose a "unique opportunity" to grow and other airports would be promoted.

That is why the organization, in which both Iberia and Globalia are represented, has called on the Government to intercede in the process. The Executive has been present for months in the negotiations for being the largest creditor of Air Europa, to which it has lent more than 600 million between participatory, ordinary loans and ICO guarantees. In fact, the airline
It was the company that inaugurated the SEPI rescue fund, which lent it 475 million.

“Out of respect for free competition and business freedom, we cannot and should not allow the development of a powerful hub in Spain, which is already a gateway from Latin America to Europe, and which would allow in the future to capture the evolution of tourism towards Asia , fall into the hands of companies that already have interests in other European hubs and that could divert long-haul flights to their destinations, seriously harming Spain's competitiveness," reads the statement issued by the Tourism Board.

The Table claims to be "concerned" by the information that points to a rapprochement between
Air Europa and foreign companies
, an assumption that was publicly revealed by the CEO of IAG (Iberia's parent company), Luis Gallego, last Friday. In this sense, the organization recalls that “airlines from these third countries have received millions in aid to overcome the Covid-19 crisis. Without going any further, Lufthansa stands out with 11,000 million euros, Air France-KLM with 10,100 million, Alitalia with 3,500 and TAP with 1,200.

He affirms that there is “a certain risk that this public aid will lead to countries such as France and Germany, which are the ones that have contributed the greatest volume of aid, taking advantage of the recovery at the cost of weakening hubs of other European countries, such as ours. ».

As the organization recalls, Spain already loses 8 million passengers in connection with other foreign hubs, where Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt stand out, and this loss "could be much greater if the Madrid hub were in the hands of any of those operators ». "It is necessary to guarantee that the Madrid hub remains in the hands of national airlines with an interest in developing it and reinforcing its competitiveness," the association abounds.

The text goes even one step further and warns that the fall of Barajas could "exponentially multiply the amount of aid granted" in a clear message to the
. This is explained by the weight of the airline sector in particular and tourism in general in the economy: airlines bring 80% of foreign tourists to Spain within a sector that contributes 12.4% of the total economy.

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