The Irish airline promises to appeal, as an EU court dismissed its challenge over bailouts given to rival carriers.
After the EU Commission awarded over €30 billion in subsidies to EU flagship carriers, Europe’s largest budget carrier has brought lawsuits against this discriminatory act, for “excluding all other EU airlines, which were also damaged by Covid-19, despite their contribution to connectivity, jobs, traffic growth and the wider economy in France and Sweden,” according to Ryanair.
Now, Ryanair has lost the first round in its battle agains state aid granted to these airlines, including rivals Air France and SAS, as well as Lufthansa, KLM, TAP and Aliataia, all of which received massive state handouts.
The General Court based in Luxumburg ruled in its judegement that the “aid scheme is appropriate for making good the economic damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and does not constitute discrimination”.
But Ryanair intends to appeal and refer the issue to the Court of Justice of the EU. According to Ryanair spokesperson, “Ryanair is a truly European airline. We have no rich and powerful ‘home country’ to subsidise us in times of trouble. Nor do we want discriminatory aid. Our instinct in a crisis is to seek efficiencies and cost savings, to offer more routes at lower fares – while remaining Europe’s greenest airline…
We hope that the Court of Justice will overturn the European Commission’s approvals of the French and Swedish schemes, to give airlines and consumers a glimmer of hope that national politicians obsessed with their flag carriers will be sent back to the drawing board and required to use State aid wisely to assist the recovery of traffic in the post-Covid world instead of bailing out their favoured airline at the expense of fair competition and consumers. Now is the time for the European Commission to stop caving into national governments’ inefficient bail-out policies and start protecting the single market, Europe’s greatest asset for future economic recovery.”