Ryanair has lost its challenge against EU-approved state aid for Austrian Airlines, ending a brief run of successful cases brought as governments propped up their national flag carriers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Europe's biggest budget airline has launched 16 lawsuits against the European Commission for allowing billions of euros in state aid for individual airlines hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to Austrian, those carriers include Austrian's parent Lufthansa and Portugal's TAP.
Ryanair took its grievance to the Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe's second highest, after the EU competition enforcer approved Vienna's decision to grant aid to Austrian Airlines in June 2020.
"The aid granted by Austria to Austrian Airlines in order to compensate it for the damage resulting from the cancellation or rescheduling of its flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic is compatible with the internal market," the General Court ruled.
"That aid, having been deducted from the subsidies granted, in the same context, by Germany to the Lufthansa group, which also includes Austrian Airlines, does not constitute overcompensation in favour of that group."
Ryanair said that it will appeal to the EU Court of Justice (CJEU), Europe's highest court.
The General Court this year has ruled in favour of Ryanair in its challenges against aid given to German charter airline Condor, KLM and TAP.
It has thrown out challenges against aid for SAS, Finnair and Air France.
The case is T-677/20 Ryanair & Laudamotion v Commission (Austrian Airlines; COVID-19).