Airlines

Published on February 19th, 2021 | by Alan Dwyer

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Ryanair To Appeal EU Court Ruling

On Wednesday, the European Union General Court ruled against Ryanair in their bid to have state aid overturned to both Air France and SAS. Ryanair immediately said that they will now bring the matter of what it calls discriminatory state-aid to the Court of Justice of the EU.

The Court issued a statement that said the schemes were in line with the EU rules. The statement said: “That aid scheme is appropriate for making good the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and does not constitute discrimination.” in relation to the aid package for Air France and for the aid for SAS, the European Court continued saying: “the scheme at issue is presumed to have been adopted in the interest of the European Union.”

Following the ruling by the European Court, Ryanair issued a strong statement with immediate intent to appeal the decision. According to Ryanair, the French scheme was reserved for French registered airlines and the Swedish scheme for Swedish registered airlines, while excluding all other EU airlines, which were also damaged by Covid-19, despite their contribution to connectivity, jobs, traffic growth and the wider economy in France and Sweden. Ryanair appealed the European Commission’s approvals of these schemes to the EU General Court in May 2020.

The Ryanair statement continued, “One of the EU’s greatest achievements is the creation of a true single market for air transport, underpinned by the principle of a common EU airline licence – one for each airline.  A nationality condition in a State aid scheme is plainly incompatible with the single market. Ryanair is a truly European airline.  We have no rich and powerful ‘home country’ to subsidise us in times of trouble.  Nor do we want discriminatory aid. During the Covid-19 pandemic over €30billion in discriminatory State subsidies has been gifted to EU flag carriers and, if allowed to stand, this will distort the level playing field in EU aviation for decades to come, giving chronically inefficient national airlines a leg up on their efficient low-fare competitors.”

“We hope that the Court of Justice will overturn the European Commission’s approvals of the French and Swedish schemes, to give airlines and consumers a glimmer of hope that national politicians obsessed with their flag carriers will be sent back to the drawing board and required to use State aid wisely to assist the recovery of traffic in the post-Covid world instead of bailing out their favoured airline at the expense of fair competition and consumers. Now is the time for the European Commission to stop caving in to national governments’ inefficient bail-out policies and start protecting the single market, Europe’s greatest asset for future economic recovery.”

Ryanair currently have files 16 lawsuits against the European Commission for allowing state aid to individual airlines such as Lufthansa, KLM, Finnair, TAP Air Portugal and Austrian Airlines.

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