Minister: EU allowed Serbia to help national air carrier with losses

Source: Tanjug/screenshot

The EU has allowed Serbia to grant state aid to Air Serbia, but only to cover losses caused by the coronavirus, Finance Minister Sinisa Mali said Saturday, adding the company had no losses previously, but only during the pandemic.

„Every country supported its national carrier… Let me remind you, when the pandemic started, how much it meant to us to have our own planes, not only to return Serbian citizens who were located in different countries but to use those planes to bring medical equipment from China and other countries. We will not allow our national company to fail. I would also like to remind the Fiscal Council and the citizens of Serbia that from the moment we entered into the partnership with the Etihad, Air Serbia had positive business results, not negative… It was in green until last year,“ Mali said in a statement for Tanjug.

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Last week, President of Serbia’s Fiscal Council Pavle Petrovic said in an interview with the Belgrade NIN weekly that the national flag carrier Air Serbia’s business was unattainable even before the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to him, „there are also hidden liquidity problems since the company failed to cover due liabilities with inflows from regular operations, which is a deficit that was compensated by borrowing.