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Horta ,  June 16, 2020

Regional Government "will use all means available to make SATA Group viable," says Ana Cunha

The Regional Secretary for Transport and Public Works stated at the Legislative Assembly in Horta that the Azorean airline is finalising its Business Plan, which should be submitted to the Regional Government by the end of June. 

Ana Cunha stated that the Board of Directors of SATA, “when taking office, had set a deadline, which, in fact, was met. However, it was interrupted by the current situation that imposed the reassessment of the plan business and restructuring process of the company in view of the context that, as everyone knows, has affected all airlines throughout the world.” 

The Secretary for Transport stressed that “its preparation is being finalised,” adding that this document “will also include a financial restructuring, without forgetting the various capital increases that the Regional Government has been making, as a shareholder, the last of which on March 23, amounting to 80 million Euros.” 

The company's financial restructuring has yet to be defined. According to Ana Cunha, “it will depend on the completion of the strategic and business plan and will almost certainly require the company to notify the European Union insofar as it constitutes State aid." In turn, "the situation of TAP is absolutely identical in terms of procedure, but it will not be identical in terms of financing methods, nor will it be anything new compared to what already existed before this pandemic." 

The Regional Secretary recalled that the European Union “did, in fact, relax some of the rules on State aid, but we do not believe that it applies to this specific case.” According to her, "this notification of State aid does not imply any subsidy granted by the European Union to airlines. It does entail the injection of capital, in this case, from the Region or a restructuring of the Group's financing, which will have to be guaranteed by the Region. This is what State aid is, and since it is an element that distorts competition, it will have to be notified to the European Union and duly justified." 

“The process begins with the granting of emergency aid, after which there is a six-month deadline for submitting the strategic and business plan, duly validated and subject to any changes that may be imposed by the European Union, as a requirement for the authorisation of State aid,” said the government official. 

For Ana Cunha, this “does not invalidate, however, the granting of initial emergency aid nor does it invalidate the fact that, in order to determine this first emergency aid, we must clearly define the necessary amount and the form it will take." 

"The document cannot be known yet because it has not been completed. It is in the process of being completed and we expect the Board of Directors to present it to the shareholder later this month," said the government official. 

Ana Cunha also ensured that the Regional Government “will use all means available to make SATA Group viable.” In this regard, she recalled that “SATA Group has managed to reinvent itself at a time when passenger transport was banned, except in cases of force majeure, and when a considerable part of its regular operation was cancelled.” 

Even so, “it continued to serve the Azorean population in several aspects, whether in the transport of patients, the transport of cargo or in the extremely important transport of medical supplies, adapting its operations," stressed the Regional Secretary. 

Ana Cunha SATA continues to play “a very important role in the resumption of economic activity in the archipelago. In fact, it has managed to reinforce its inter-island transport operations on a gradual basis by increasing the number of flight connections and available seats, thus fulfilling its mission to serve the Azorean people." 

For the Regional Secretary, the continuity of this mission "is, in our view, indisputable" and, accordingly, the "maintenance of SATA Group under these terms" is also indisputable. 
“We will do everything and use all the tools available to keep SATA Group at the service of the Azorean people,” assured Ana Cunha.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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