EU investigates airports in state aid case

Victoria
By Victoria February 23, 2012 15:35

EU investigates airports in state aid case


EU regulators are investigating three regional German airports and one in Austria who may have breached EU state aid rules in setting lower charges for Ryanair, Germanwings and Air Berlin. This is significant as these airlines would argue that they receive the worst gates and maybe even no jet bridge in return for the lower fees and that the passengers they bring into regional zones should carry some sort of subsidy. Even so, the European Commission said in a statement it would look into capital injections and operating aid granted by German authorities to the airports at Saarbruecken, Zweibruecken, Luebeck-Blankensee and those provided by Austrian authorities to Klagenfurt airport.

The investigation, launched yesterday, is the latest move against airports suspected of receiving state aid. The Commission is also investigating possible illegal aid for airports in France, Sweden, Ireland, Hungary and Romania.

“On the basis of the information at its disposal the Commission cannot exclude that the measures in favour of the four airports and their customer airlines involve state aid which gives them an unfair advantage vis-à-vis their competitors and is thus incompatible with the internal market,” an EC press statement said.

It cited concerns with discounted user charges offered by Saarbruecken airport to Cirrus Airlines and Air Berlin, Zweibrueken airport’s lower charges for Germanwings, TUIfly and Ryanair, and Luebeck-Blankensee airport’s deals with Ryanair.

It also pointed to Klagenfurt airport’s discounted scheme for Ryanair, TUIfly and Air Berlin.

The Commission can order national authorities to recover aid if this is found to have infringed EU state aid rules. Oh dear…….Keep an eye on this story.

Victoria
By Victoria February 23, 2012 15:35
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