Ryanair welcomes decision to cancel aid to TAP

The airline Ryanair welcomes the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (UE) which annuls the European Commission's endorsement of state aid 1,2 billion to TAP.

The EU Court of Justice was, Wednesday, against the European Commission's decision, which accepted the Portuguese State's aid to TAP, considering that is not sufficiently substantiated. Ainda assim, the structure explains that the cancellation effects, including recovery of the aid, are suspended pending a new decision.

At issue is the appeal lodged at that body in July 2020 by Ryanair against state aid to Portuguese flag carrier TAP, with the argument that this Portuguese support violates the European treaty and the competition rules.

The aim of the Irish low cost company was that, with this action, the decision to cancel 10 de Junho de 2020, when the community executive gave ‘the green light’ Portuguese emergency aid to TAP.

It was state support from 1,2 € 1 billion to respond to immediate liquidity needs given the Covid-19 pandemic, with pre-determined conditions for your refund.

In addition to annulling the decision of the Community executive regarding TAP, requesting a new reasoning, the General Court (first instance) yesterday released a similar understanding of Dutch state aid from 3,4 mil milhões, approved by Brussels for KLM, also determining the annulment of this guarantee due to insufficient reasoning.

Reacting to both decisions, Ryanair states in a statement that the judgments in two of the more than 20 appeals brought to date before the General Court are an important victory for consumers and competition.

– One of the EU's greatest achievements is the creation of a single market for air transport, but the European Commission's approvals of state aid to Air France-KLM and TAP went against the fundamental principles of EU legislation and reversed the process of liberalizing air transport, rewarding inefficiency and encouraging unfair competition, argues the low cost airline.

Ryanair further notes that, during the Covid-19 pandemic, mais de 30 billion euros of discriminatory state subsidies were awarded to EU flag carriers.

In addition to these two processes, several other actions by Ryanair were brought before the General Court against state aid approved by the European Commission for aviation in times of crisis generated by the pandemic, one of the sectors most affected.

As a general rule, in the judgments known so far, the General Court has given reason to the European Commission.

This was not the case for TAP, the General Court having reported that the Commission's decision declaring Portugal's aid to the airline TAP compatible with the internal market is annulled because it is not sufficiently substantiated.

Ainda assim, the structure explained that the cancellation effects – including recovery of the aid – are suspended pending a new decision.

As the decision of the General Court now known is the first instance, parties can still appeal to the EU Court of Justice, having two months to do so.

Em 2020, TAP returned to the control of the Portuguese State, that came to hold 72,5% of your capital, after the company was severely affected by the covid-19 pandemic and the European Commission authorized state aid for 1,2 mil milhões de euros.

Já este ano, no end April, the European Commission approved a new and interim state aid from Portugal to TAP, no valor de 462 milhões de euros, to again compensate for losses resulting from the pandemic and, According to the carrier, ensure liquidity pending the approval of the restructuring plan by Brussels, still going on.

After the announcement of this decision, the Minister of Infrastructure, Pedro Nuno Santos, said he was not concerned by the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which canceled the state aid to TAP, and considered it to be a complex matter.

They are very complex processes and, obviamente, we do not ignore that there is always a commercial dispute between different airlines, said the minister.

Segundo o governante, it's just that what is happening in this case, by airline in particular against all European flag companies that, as the Prime Minister said, would not survive without state aid.

They are complex processes, that are disputed by other companies, which have a commercial interest in taking over their competitors' business, stressed Pedro Nuno dos Santos, stressing that the process is running in court and Portugal is not part in this process, because it was the European Commission that was asked to give further clarifications to the Court of Justice of the European Union.