Sweden offers carriers airport charge deferment

Sweden offers carriers airport charge deferment
Sweden has agreed to offer airlines a three-month respite from paying airport fees, enterprise minister Maud Olofsson has revealed, as a cloud of volcanic ash continues to add to carriers' costs.

Airlines will also be given a three-month exemption from paying airport fees. Each month carriers pay Swedish airport charges amounting to around 250 million kronor.

Olofsson said the government was in talks with the European Union and was pushing for a retroactive EU-wide moratorium on airport fees for the period in which a cloud of volcanic ash caused aviation authorities to shut down airspace across much of the continent.

The government also reminded airlines at home of the continued existence of a scheme put in place at the height of the global financial crisis enabling companies to defer payment of sales tax, employer charges and other staff-related taxes.

“It’s going to relieve the pressure,” Olofsson told reporters at a Thursday afternoon press conference.

Enterprise ministry staff said airlines could save millions of kronor a day and resolve acute liquidity problems by making use of support systems already in place.

“We’ve just informed them that they can avail themselves of this possibility,” said Leif Zetterberg, state secretary to transport minister Åsa Torstensson.

Zetterberg said the airlines did not know this opportunity was available to them.

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