Austrian communists criticize government bailout to private airline

The Austrian government has issued a financial bailout package worth EUR 450 million (USD 510 million) to Austrian Airlines (AUA), a subsidiary of the Germany-based Lufthansa Group

June 12, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Austrian Airlines
The Party of Labour of Austria (PdA) and the Communist Youth of Austria (KJO) has criticized government aid to the private airline.

On June 9, Tuesday, Austrian leftist groups, including the Party of Labour of Austria (PdA) and the Communist Youth of Austria (KJO), criticized the government’s bailout to the private sector Austrian Airlines (AUA), a subsidiary of the Germany-based Lufthansa Group. The conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP)-Green-led government in the country has issued EUR 150 million (USD 170 million) as direct state aid, and EUR 300 million (USD 340 million) worth of loans to the airline. 

Responding to the move, KJO stated “Once again, ÖVP and Greens prove which side they really are on. While there are allegedly no funds to increase unemployment benefits, hundreds of millions of euros of tax money are quickly found, which they can throw at a corporation. And best of all, there isn’t even corresponding state participation.”

“The government of capital shows its true face: While hundreds of thousands of working people are on the brink of existence and receive no special support, a German corporation is practically given all of our tax money. It’s scandalous,” KJO added.

The PdA opined in the Zeitung der Arbeit (ZdA), “In the garb of protecting the jobs at the Airlines (AUA) and for maintaining the AUA hub in Vienna Airport, the state has succumbed to Lufthansa’s extortion implied with a subtle threat of simply bankrupting the AUA unless they receive a state ransom.

“Lufthansa itself has to contribute 150 million euros to finance its wholly-owned subsidiary AUA. It can easily do that with the USD 8.7 billion package that the German government agreed to. The German state also receives a 20% stake in the group for its donation. The Austrian state receives nothing for its gifts,” claimed PdA.

The party also criticized the previous Social Democratic of Austria (SPO)-led government for privatizing Austrian Airlines and selling off almost all of the republic’s nationalized operations.

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