In Germany, the state has just granted financial support of €1.8 billion to the TUI Group, which is headquartered in Hanover, to help it overcome the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the third state aid granted, since the start of the crisis, to this world leader in travel and tourism (TUI is, notably, a 49 per cent shareholder in Sunwing).
Previously, TUI had already received €3 billion in support.
Moreover, the aid granted to TUI by the German state provides that the latter will be able to become a shareholder of the group.
Berlin reserves the right for part of its aid to take the form of actions. This stake could reach 25 per cent of TUI's capital, thus granting the State a blocking minority (a veto right allowing decisions to be blocked).
Help for Lufthansa
Remember that the German state also generously supported Lufthansa. At the beginning of the summer, as part of a €9 billion bailout plan, Berlin took 20 per cent of the capital of the former national airline (privatized in 1997).
In the case of TUI, as in that of Lufthansa, the German state justified its interventions by arguing that the two companies were in good financial health before the advent of the pandemic.
Crickets in Canada
Germany's strategy vis-à-vis its major travel and tourism players contrasts sharply with that of Canada.
Despite pressing and repeated demands from the industry, more than ten months after the onset of the pandemic, Ottawa has yet to unveil sectoral aid for aviation (let alone tourism).
Let us remember, however, that on November 8, Marc Garneau, then Minister of Transport, promised a “package of assistance measures” for air carriers, airports and the Canadian aerospace sector.
The minister mentioned that financial assistance to carriers could include "loans and possibly other types of support."
He said, however, that the support would come with "strict conditions to protect Canadians and the public interest," including reimbursement for travellers whose flights have been canceled due to COVID.
Canadian aviation industry players generally welcomed Minister Garneau's statement. However, the commitment has not yet materialized.
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