Ryanair announced on 17 February that it will be appealing the EU court rulings on French and Swedish state aid schemes favouring Air France and SAS over all other EU airlines.
These schemes included a French airport tax deferral and a Swedish loan guarantee that were introduced at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis with nationality conditions. Ryanair says the French scheme was reserved for France-registered airlines and the Swedish scheme for airlines registered in Sweden and excluded all other EU airlines despite their contribution to connectivity, jobs, traffic growth and the wider economy in France and Sweden.
Ryanair, which launched its winter 21/22 schedule with over 700 routes last week, appealed the European Commission’s approvals of these schemes to the EU General Court in May 2020. Following today’s rulings, Ryanair will now refer these matters to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Ryanair’s spokesperson said: “One of the EU’s greatest achievements is the creation of a true single market for air transport, underpinned by the principle of a common EU airline licence – one for each airline. A nationality condition in a state aid scheme is plainly incompatible with the single market.
“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.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic over €30bn in discriminatory state subsidies has been gifted to EU flag carriers and, if allowed to stand, this will distort the level playing field in EU aviation for decades to come, giving chronically inefficient national airlines a leg up on their efficient low-fare competitors.”