General Industry

State Aid Payments to Ryanair Investigated

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State Aid Payments to Ryanair Investigated

Ryanair has been ordered by the European Commission to repay around €9.6 million it received in illegal state aid.

The Commission found that Ryanair enjoyed an undue economic advantage over competitors at three French airports: Angouleme, Pau Pyrenees and Nimes with regard to rebates and marketing arrangements. In each case Ryanair had paid less than the additional costs linked to its presence in the airports and the Commission found that the agreements "could not have been reasonably expected to improve the financial situation of the airport"; therefore they involved state aid.

Ryanair said that the arrangements complied with European sate aid rules and that it has instructed its lawyers to appeal the rulings.

The Commission also revealed the results of their investigation into Ryanair activites at three regional airports in Germany: Dortmund, Leipzig/Halle and Niederrhein-Weeze but found no problems with the payments Ryanair received. Ryanair welcomed the rulings on these airports saying that they were in line with commission and European Court rulings in relation to agreements it has with six other airports in other member states.

The Commission noted that it was continuing an investigation into Austria's Klagenfurt airport where the airport service and marketing agreements appeared to be "excessively favourable to Ryanair" and therefore could involve incompatible state aid.

There were initially 24 investigations into the aid Ryanair received and 14 of these are still ongoing.