On Wednesday 8 July 2020, Royal Decree Law 26/2020, was published in the Official State Bulletin, with the aim of approving a set of measures required for the purposes of economic recovery in the transport sector and in the field of housing, protecting the health of workers and travellers, guaranteeing the availability of essential goods and services, providing liquidity to companies and reducing administrative burdens.
In this article, we will analyse this regulatory text, focusing on the specific measures arising for the transport service.
1. AIR TRANSPORT
Articles 2 to 7 include the management measures adopted for air transport. General prevention measures against COVID-19 that companies in the sector must guarantee compliance with, as well as all those that the Autonomous Communities have adopted.
Operational guidelines have been established from Europe, which are applicable to the entire Spanish territory. The EASA/ECDC Guidelines will be compulsory not only for airport managers but also for companies that carry out their work as auxiliaries at airports:
– Inform users on the preventive measures and health reasons why they should refrain from accessing the airport, as well as the consequences of detecting a person suspected of having COVID-19 during health checks.
For its part, the Transport Facilitation Committee will be responsible for coordinating and supervising all the actors who have a role in the application or definition of these measures.
2. MARITIME TRANSPORT
Articles 8 to 14 set out the measures taken to revitalise the maritime sector. Firstly, the reasoned reduction of maritime traffic requirements for 2020 at the request of the concessionaire will be permitted, due to the impossibility of compliance (deriving from COVID-19).
Likewise, the liquid quota of the occupation rate accrued during the financial year 2020 may be reduced, being determined this reduction depending on the decrease in maritime traffic or, failing this, on incomes attributable to the activity, the different types and also depending on the economic and financial situation of the Port Authority.
With regard to the activity tax, the Port Authorities may (upon request of the taxpayer) leave the lower limit of the annual activity tax quota without effect for the year 2020. In turn, the enforceability of the activity fee established in the authorisation may also be modified.
As we have already commented in other publications, this Royal Decree confirms that the fees for vessels (between 1 March 2020 and 31 October 2020) may be modified, depending on the reason for the stay in port waters. Likewise, the Port Authorities may grant deferrals of tax debts accrued (between 1 March and 31 October 2020) and not paid.
As a final comment, it should be noted that the provision of human resources at the passenger terminals serving the regular maritime services during the state of alarm, are considered as emergency services for all purposes.
3. RAIL TRANSPORT
With regard to Railway Transport, it should be mentioned that RENFE is authorised to arrange credit operations during the 2020 financial year, for the amount of 1 billion euros.
It is also planned to authorise extraordinary credits to be financed with Public Debt.
4. ROAD TRANSPORT
Articles 18 to 30 contain the provisions relating to road transport. Firstly, moratoriums will be granted for the public goods and occasional passenger transported by bus.
Among other measures, deferrals of payments of instalments on loan, leasing and renting contracts used by self-employed persons and public undertakings for the purchase of buses and public transport vehicles of more than 3.5 tonnes, maximum authorised mass, are accepted.
With regard to the approval of road transport authorisations, this will be extended, establishing 2021 as an open deadline for approval of transport authorisations that should be endorsed in 2020 and have not been yet. Also, for those authorizations that should be endorsed in 2020 and have done so, the deadline for their next endorsement is extended until 2023. In addition, the opportunity to apply for extraordinary rehabilitation for public transport authorisations invalidated during 2020 is provided due to the inability to certify the requirements for their endorsement.
Finally, an extension of 3 months is established for those technical inspection certificates of vehicles that expire between 21 June and 31 August.