EU approves Swedish support scheme for airlines

epa05201457 A file image dated 27 June 2008 showing a SAS airplane at Frankfurt airport, EPA/MAURITZ ANTIN

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In what is being considered as the first major bailout of coronavirus-affected airlines, the European Commission has approved Sweden’s 450 million euro support scheme for airlines, with Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), standing to be the may beneficiary of this deal.

The Swedish authorities estimate that approximately 20 airlines will be eligible for loan guarantees under the scheme. This includes carriers operating scheduled passenger air transport services, as well as smaller airlines operating ambulance flights and helicopter companies performing inspection services.

The EU has recently relaxed state aid criteria, which are normally stringent across the continent, to allow governments to support companies withstand the impact of the pandemic.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The coronavirus outbreak is having an unprecedented impact on the aviation sector in Europe and worldwide. This SEK 5 billion, or approximately €455 million, Swedish loan guarantee scheme will support airlines affected by the coronavirus outbreak. It aims at providing airlines operating in Sweden with liquidity in these difficult times. We continue to work with Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place in a coordinated and effective way, in line with EU rules.”

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