Airlines

Ryanair welcomes EU court ruling on Air France-KLM state aid

Ryanair signs 5-year deal with Enilive for access to up to 100,000 tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel

Ryanair today (7 Feb) welcomed the EU General Court ruling that €3.4bn Covid-19 State aid granted by the Netherlands to Air France-KLM in 2020 was illegal.

This is the second time that the EU General Court has ruled this aid package to be illegal, after the Commission failed to correct the errors made in its original decision when it essentially re-issued it in 2021, ignoring the Court’s first ruling in this case.

Today’s decision is also the fourth time overall that the Court has ruled that Covid-19 State aid to the Air France-KLM Group was unlawful.

Ryanair now calls on the European Commission to order the Netherlands to immediately recover this multi-billion euro illegal State aid package from Air France-KLM and impose adequate remedies to repair at least some of the damage to competition done by this massive State bailout.

Ryanair’s spokesperson said: “One of the EU’s greatest achievements is the creation of a true single market for air transport.

“The European Commission’s approval of the Dutch State aid to Air France-KLM went against the fundamental principles of EU law, like the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of nationality.

“Today’s judgment confirms that the Commission must act as a guardian of the level playing field in air transport and cannot sign-off discriminatory State aid issued by national governments.

“The Court’s intervention is a triumph for fair competition and consumers across the EU.

“The EU Commission’s spineless approach to State aid since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis allowed Member States to write open-ended cheques to their inefficient zombie flag carriers in the name of faded national prestige.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic over €40bn in discriminatory State subsidies was gifted to EU flag carriers.

“The EU General Court has already ruled in other cases concerning Covid-19 State aid that billions of euros in aid received by SAS, Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, and certain Italian airlines were unlawful.

“The European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition has still not acted to force recovery of the unlawful aid, nor has it imposed any measures to remedy the damage to competition caused by the Swedish, Danish, German, French, and Italian governments favouring their local airlines over other EU airlines, in breach of EU law.

“Today’s judgment underlines the need for the European Commission to immediately act to recover these illegal State aid packages and order remedies to restore at least some of the damage done to competition.

“Undistorted competition eliminates inefficiency and benefits consumers through low fares and choice.

“Unjustified subsidies, on the other hand, encourage ineffectiveness and will harm consumers for decades to come.”

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