Air Transport World

EC finds some Ryanair aid illegal.(Brief Article)

As expected, the EC ruled in early Feb. that certain financial benefits granted to Ryanair by the Walloon region and Brussels South Charleroi Airport constituted illegal state aid. But the verdict upheld other aspects of the agreements, and the 4 million [euro] ($5 million) that must be repaid hardly will be felt by the Irish airline, which is sitting on 1.2 billion [euro] in cash. "Next week's interest will pay for this," snapped an angry Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary as he railed against the decision, calling it "a disaster" for low-cost carriers, consumers and regional airports."

Specifically, the EC ruled that the exclusive reduced ground handling lees and airport charges, as well as "one-shot incentives" provided to Ryanair for the opening of new routes "where no account was taken" of actual launch costs, along with aid provided for the preexisting Dublin-Charleroi route were incompatible with the "proper functioning of the [EU] internal market" and therefore must be recovered. …

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