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Ryanair to Appeal Rulings on State Aid to Airlines

Ryanair has vowed to appeal a European court ruling upholding state aid for for rivals SAS and Finnair. The EU’s general court upheld Danish, Finnish and Swedish government aid for flag carriers Finnair and SAS on Wednesday.

The Irish carrier, Europe’s biggest airline, said it would appeal the ruling to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Image - Tyler McDowell

The airline argues that the aid is illegal and benefitted only the countries’ flag carriers, while all airlines have been hit by Covid travel curbs. Ryanair’s statement noted that the Finnish government granted a €600 million loan guarantee to Finnair, bringing total state aid to the airline to more than €1.2 billion. The Danish and Swedish administrations each gave SAS a €137 million loan, bringing total government support to the Scandinavian carrier to more than €1.3 billion.

Ryanair said that the European Commission’s approvals of the Danish, Finnish and Swedish aid to the airlines breached fundamental principles of EU law.

“Today’s judgments set the process of liberalisation in air transport back by 30 years by allowing Finland, Denmark and Sweden to give their national flag carriers a leg up over more efficient competitors, based purely on nationality,” a statement added.

“We will now ask the EU Court of Justice to overturn these unfair subsidies in the interests of competition and consumers.”

In the two judgements on Wednesday the General Court of the European Union found both instances were in line with EU law.