ONCE again, the boss of Ryanair Michael O’Leary has come out against state support for airlines, this time asking the European Union to question the Dutch Government’s €3.4 billion loan to KLM.
Initially, Mr O’Leary had said that Ryanair would tough it out without looking for any government support, but in May, did accept a €670 million loan from Britain, possibly on the basis that if British Airways and easyJet were going to benefit then his company might as well join in.
Almost every EU member state that has an airline has either issued a significant loan to help support it or in the case of Germany and Italy there are buy-ins and takeovers involved.
Greenpeace and other champions of the environment however are not happy with the way things have gone in funding these European airlines, as they believe that a massive opportunity to help save the planet has been ignored.
According to the Transport & Environment, Carbon Market Watch and Greenpeace bailout tracker, airlines have applied for €32.9 billion of state backed loans yet not a single condition concerning protection of the environment or the cutting back of greenhouse gas emissions has been imposed.
As airlines start to fly across Europe again and travellers get ready for holidays, business trips or simply to return home, the entire airline industry is in a state of flux and whilst able to enjoy the benefit of loans now, may well find that in the long term such loans will be a financial burden, unless they suddenly become gifts.