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EU court rejects Ryanair’s SAS complaint

14 Apr 2021 / cjeu Print

EU court rejects Ryanair’s SAS complaint

An EU court has rejected a complaint made by Ryanair about financial aid given to rival airline SAS by Sweden and Denmark.

The measures, which involved a guarantee on a credit facility, were intended to compensate SAS for the damage resulting from the cancellation or rescheduling of its flights after the imposition of pandemic-linked travel restrictions.

The European Commission had approved the measures, saying aid to make good the damage caused by natural disasters or exceptional occurrences was compatible with the EU’s internal market rules.

Aid 'appropriate'

The General Court of the European Court of Justice dismissed Ryanair’s complaint, saying that, under EU law, such aid could be granted even if it benefited only one company.

As a result, the court ruled, the commission had not erred in law by approving the measures.

The court also rejected Ryanair’s argument that the aid measures had been disproportionate, saying the commission had set a method for assessing the damages which avoided the risk of over-compensation.

The court added that it was appropriate for Denmark and Sweden to provide aid to SAS, whose market share in those countries was much higher than that of its closest competitor.

The court also rejected a separate complaint by Ryanair against Finnish government aid for Finnair. “In view of Finnair’s importance for the Finnish economy, the grant of the state guarantee only to Finnair does not go beyond the limits of what is appropriate and necessary in order to achieve the objectives pursued by Finland,” it said.

Ryanair has said it intends to appeal the judgments.

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