Spain to give EUR600M to its ailing airline industry

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MADRID – Spain’s government Friday said it had approved up to EUR600 million in loans for the country’s ailing commercial airline industry.

The government said the development ministry will provide the loans between 2010 and 2012 to finance airlines with liquidity problems and “avoid possible restructuring or bankruptcies.”

Most of Spain’s airlines are operating at a loss since recession hit the country earlier this year, reducing demand for air travel and squeezing an industry which expanded routes and frequencies during Spain’s economic boom.

Spanish travel company Grupo Marsans said earlier this month it was looking to sell its airline Air Comet because of losses at the airline.

Other major airlines based in Spain are its flag carrier Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana SA, Spanair and Vueling Airlines SA.