Local authorities are among the shareholders that have been asked to provide loans to Birmingham Airport as it suffers from COVID-19 restrictions.
Birmingham City Council is set to provide up to £18.5m and Solihull MBC £3.7m to the hub as it suffers drastically reduced passenger numbers due to the pandemic - down 91% between April and December.
The airport has already made a 43% reduction in roles throughout its workforce.
A total of 49% of shares in Birmingham Airport Holdings lie in council hands, with Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton also holding stakes.
Solihull alone received £1m income annually from the airport prior to the global pandemic.
It is considered a ‘key strategic regeneration catalyst’, supporting 30,900 jobs and a boost to the region’s economy worth £1.5bn.
The latest local authority to propose authorising a loan, Solihull, was told it is expected to be repaid ‘within a short period’ and would ensure it retained a stake in control over the company ‘which would be lost otherwise’, according to a report.
Leader Cllr Ian Courts said: ‘I’m sure overseas [competitors] would rub their hands with glee,’ were the airport not to get the support required.
‘We are not doing anything like what overseas companies are to support the air industry.’
The cabinet’s recommendation to authorise the loan will require rubberstamping by the full council at a meeting next week.
This article first appeared on our sister website The MJ.