PLANE POLITICS

Berlin Mulls Help for Aviation Industry

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The German government wants to give its airline industry a boost.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    German airline executives, including the head of Lufthansa, have argued that the government hasn’t done enough to help domestic airlines, which are struggling to compete with state-supported carriers from Turkey and the Gulf states.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The government is in talks with the airline industry over possible ways to help the struggling sector.
    • The country’s two main carriers, Lufthansa and Air Berlin, have both reduced capacity, citing stiff competition.
    • Among the most controversial options being discussed is the option of is doing away with the airfare surcharge implemented in 2011, which brings in €1 billion in taxes.
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    Audio

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Germany’s governing coalition is working on a range of proposals that would provide relief to the country’s airlines, Handelsblatt has learned.

Members of Angela Merkel’s conservatives – including her parliamentary group leader, Volker Kauder, and Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt – are meeting Wednesday to discuss how to move forward with the negotiations to iron out a concept by this summer.

The head of Germany’s largest airline, Lufthansa, is due to join the discussions.

“In the Gulf states or Turkey, the aviation industry is specifically promoted and supported as a strategic branch,” Carsten Spohr said. “Here, the aviation industry is unfortunately too often seen as a burden.”

According to sources within the government, officials will consider a number of options. Among them: whether to lengthen operating times at Germany’s largest airports in Frankfurt and Munich, or in Leipzig and Cologne-Bonn. Berlin could also cut the security fees that airlines have to pay, or subsidize the development of quieter, more efficient planes.

The talks come after the government issued a report on the state of the country’s airports and the carriers that serve them. The 100-plus-page report, compiled my research institute DIW Econ, Uniconsult and others, reviews a number of ways that German politicians could help the industry.

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