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BER probably needs a new billion

The EU decides today about Corona aid.

A few weeks before the next opening date of the German capital airport BER, a media report said that the financial situation of the airport operator FBB is more tense than last thought. As the “Tagesspiegel” reports, citing, among other things, a letter from State Secretary Bettina Hagedorn (SPD) to the Bundestag’s budget committee, FBB not only needs the 300 million euros Corona emergency aid that the shareholders (the federal government and the states of Berlin and Brandenburg) and on which the EU Commission will decide on Wednesday (September 9th). It is currently planned that 99 million euros of this will come as a grant and 201 million euros as a loan, it is said.

In the coming year at the latest, FBB will need another 700 million euros “with stagnating air traffic”, according to the newspaper. Industry observers are also not expecting a rapid recovery in traffic – Easyjet only cut its own capacities further on Tuesday. According to “Tagesspiegel”, this number is currently being discussed in the FBB supervisory board.

A “currently probable management scenario” calculates a financial requirement of around half a billion euros. It is assumed that air traffic in the coming year will reach around half the level of 2019. For the first eight months of this year, Berlin airports recorded a historic slump.

But the 300 million euro corona aid would apparently also have to flow quickly. “Without the financing commitment from the shareholders, FBB’s solvency would not have been secured for 2020,” says the Hagedorn letter, which insists on rapid approval. This is because “FBB needs part of the committed funds to ensure its liquidity (…) by October 2020 at the latest”, quoted the “Tagesspiegel”. Should Brussels not approve the public aid, the way out would be partial privatization.

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