The European Commission has approved a EUR1.9 million euro (USD2 million) Romanian state aid package for TAROM (RO, Bucharest Henri Coanda) to offset financial losses it sustained during the pandemic-stricken second half of 2020.

The package will be handed to the flag carrier, in which the Romanian government holds a 97.22% stake via the Ministry of Transport, as a capital injection addressing damage incurred between July 1 and December 31, 2020, across 14 routes, the European Union antitrust regulator said in a statement on May 2.

“This measure is aimed at compensating the airline for the damages suffered on 14 routes during the period [...] due to the coronavirus pandemic and the travel restrictions imposed by Romania and other countries to limit the spread of the virus,” it said.

It follows an earlier measure the commission approved in October 2020 aimed at compensating the airline for the period of March 16 to June 30.

As with other cases of pandemic-related assistance EU member states have provided, primarily to legacy carriers, the commission said it had assessed the measure amid revised state aid rules enabling it to approve bailouts “directly caused by exceptional occurrences, such as the coronavirus outbreak.” It claimed the additional aid would compensate for damage “that is directly linked to the coronavirus pandemic.” It did not specify which 14 routes were being compensated.

Shortly before the outbreak, the European Commission approved earlier plans to provide state funding to the already-ailing airline in the form of a loan of around EUR36.7 million (USD39.9 million at the time).