Leading airlines have urged the EU not to postpone planned changes to regulation on airport charges and compensation for flight delays because of the Covid crisis.

Carriers in the Airlines for Europe (A4E) group which includes easyJet, Ryanair, Lufthansa, Air France-KLM and British Airways and Iberia owner IAG, responded to reports of delays in European Commission policymaking saying: “We are very concerned.”

A4E managing director Thomas Reynaert complained: “There are real bottlenecks in policymaking and regulation.

“Progress still needs to be made on important policies. Unfortunately, some policymakers seem to believe some regulations in the pipeline should be postponed.”

He said the “unprecedented crisis in aviation” made regulatory reform more pressing.

Reynaert said: “The EU is pushing the Green New Deal, which is a good thing. But progress on other policies is being postponed because policymakers say markets have changed.”

He insisted: “The EU Airport Charges Directive remains even more important. Current rules don’t prevent airports using their dominant position. They can raise charges to unjustified levels.

“The EC planned to put a revised proposal on the table in the fourth quarter of this year. It’s worrying we now hear this will not happen. We don’t understand why the EC would want to postpone this. It has been pending for many years.”

A4E also wants no delay to the planned revision of European Regulation 261 on air passenger rights which ensures compensation for delays and cancelled flights.

A revision of compensation rules for delays, clarifying and in some cases curtailing consumer rights to payments in light of numerous European Court of Justice rulings, had been expected late this year after lengthy delays.

Speaking on behalf of A4E, Volotea chief executive Carlos Munoz noted compensation payments cost airlines €5.3 billion in 2018 and said: “Reform has been ready for seven years. We ask that it is prioritised. The revision will aid airlines’ recovery.”