The EU Court of Justice on Wednesday 29 September ordered German airline TUIfly and Irish airline Ryanair to repay the 13 million euros in subsidies they received from the Austrian government in 2016.
The European Commission had previously declared in 2016 that the subsidies the two airlines received from the public airport in Klagenfurt violated EU state aid rules and called on the Austrian government to recover them.
Some of the service and marketing agreements between the airlines and Klagenfurt Airport gave the two companies an unfair advantage, the European Commission ruled at the time. The EU competition watchdog said the loss-making deals amounted to state aid because they lowered the operating costs of airlines.
TUIfly and Ryanair challenged the Commission’s decision and took the case to court.
The General Court of the European Union, based in Luxembourg, sided with the reasoning of the European Commission and rejected the arguments of TUIfly and Ryanair. The court ordered the two companies to repay the state aid they received in order to compensate for the benefits they derived from advantageous contracts with the Austrian airport.
Ryanair has already announced it will appeal the decision.
Source: Euractiv (although Euractiv wrongly mentions “Belgian” airline TUIfly, which never flew to Klagenfurt)