Brussels South Charleroi Airport (BSCA) in Belgium is set to receive a grant of up to $21.7m (€19.2m) from the European Commission (EC) for its recapitalisation.

EC sanctioned the grant under the State aid Temporary Framework.

“This recapitalisation measure will follow a first capital increase of around €10.8 million to be subscribed to by one of BSCA’s private shareholders. Both the private and public shareholders will then subscribe to the further capital increase of €19.2 million pro rata their shareholding participation, with the public shareholders subscribing up to €9.8 million. The total capital increase is therefore expected to amount to up to €30 million,” stated the Commission.

The move comes in the backdrop of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and resultant travel curbs, which led to BSCA incurring ‘substantial’ losses.

Operational costs are also said to have increased significantly for the airport.

The Commission said that the grant would help BSCA restore its financial position and liquidity, as well as maintain “safeguards to limit competition distortions”.

Commenting on the move, EC executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager said: “Airports are among the companies that have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus outbreak. With this measure, Belgium will contribute to reinforcing Brussels South Charleroi Airport’s equity position and help the company face the economic effects of the outbreak.

“At the same time, the State aid will come with strings attached to limit undue distortions of competition. We continue working in close cooperation with Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place in a coordinated and effective way, in line with EU rules.”

BSCA is a company that manages Brussels South Charleroi Airport, which is the second airport that serves the city of Brussels. Belgium, through the Walloon Region, is BSCA’s controlling shareholder.