On Wednesday, the EU Court of Justice ruled that Belgian charter airline TUIfly and low-cost carrier Ryanair had to repay the € 13 million in grants they received from the Austrian government in 2016.
The European Commission said 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 the subsidies.
Some of the service and marketing agreements between the airlines and Klagenfurt Airport gave the two companies an unfair advantage, the European Commission said at the time. The EU’s competition watchdog has said the loss-making deals constitute state aid because they reduce airlines’ operating costs.
TUIfly and Ryanair challenged the Commission’s decision and brought the case to court.
The Luxembourg-based EU General Court has now sided with the European Commission’s reasoning and rejected the arguments of Tuifly and Ryanair. The court ordered the two companies to repay the state aid they had received to offset their advantage through the advantageous contracts with the Austrian airport.
Ryanair has already announced that it will appeal the decision.
(Oliver Noyan | EURACTIV.de)