June 15, 2024

Ryanair wins court challenges over Covid subsidies

Ryanair has won European Union court challenges against state aid for Air France-KLM in the latest round of its campaign against allegedly unfair subsidies handed out during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The EU General Court has ruled that €7bn Covid-19 State aid granted to Air France-KLM in 2020 and €4bn in 2021 was illegal.

Ryanair is now calling on the European Commission to order France 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 has filed more than two dozen challenges against €40bn in discriminatory State subsidies given to European flag carriers by their respective governments, arguing they distorted competition in the industry.

A Ryanair 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 French 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 judgments confirm 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.

“Today’s judgments underline 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.”