Irish Daily Mail
Top EU court rejects Ryanair’s claim of ‘unfair’ aid to airlines
A TOP European Union court dealt another blow to Ryanair yesterday as it rejected the carrier’s arguments that the aid Sweden, Denmark and Finland gave two other airlines to get through the Covid-19 crisis was illegal.
The Luxembourg-based EU General Court said the subsidies Denmark and Sweden granted to Scandinavian carrier SAS ‘comply with EU law’. It said likewise of a Finnish loan guarantee for Finnair.
The General Court handed down two similar decisions two months ago in different cases involving France and Sweden.
The EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, which polices state aid and other competition issues, has approved several aid plans for struggling airline companies in the wake of the pandemic, especially after border closures and other restrictions halted most air travel. Ryanair had argued that the aid constituted unfair state bailouts for national carriers.
The airline industry has been hit hard due to lockdowns and travel restrictions.
The EU General Court said aid granted to SAS and Finnair complied with the bloc’s state aid rules.
Judges said the Finnair state loan guarantee was necessary in order to remedy the serious disturbance in the Finnish economy in view of the importance of the carrier for that economy.
Ryanair said in a statement that it would appeal the decisions, adding: ‘Today’s judgments set the process of liberalisation in air transport back by 30 years.’