Lugano authorities have approved a series of loans to help save Lugano Airport in southern Switzerland, allowing it to operate for at least one more year. The regional airport has struggled since the bankruptcy of Darwin Airline and collapse of Adria Airways in September.
On Monday, Lugano parliament followed the local government by voting in favour of three loans, totalling CHF5.7 million ($5.7 million), for the temporary rescue of Lugano Airportexternal link. The vote was preceded by a long, emotional debate that reconfirmed the airport’s symbolic status for local officials.
Earlier this month, Ticino parliamentarians agreed to increase the canton’s shareholding and other financial support to the company running the airport. In return, they want the local council to present a clear operational plan and strategy by early next year.
The local Social Democratic Party, Green Party and Movimento per il socialism (MPS) Party have announced that they will launch a referendum to oppose the cantonal parliament’s decision.
Lugano Airport has struggled since the departure of Darwin Airline at the end of 2017. This was compounded by the recent bankruptcy of the Slovenian company Adria Airways, which stopped its Lugano connection to Zurich Airport at the end of September.
A study by the St Gallen Competence Centre showed that Lugano Airport nonetheless plays an important transport role for the Italian-speaking region and offers an alternative to rail transport. It also provides 1,600 direct and indirect jobs and its presence has an impact on the local economy, the study concluded.