Ryanair loses fight to block rivals’ state aid

Ryanair has lost its court battle against state aid granted to rivals Air France and Swedish carrier SAS.

The Luxembourg-based General Court said EU rules were not broken when the airlines received bailouts.

Airlines have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with much international travel either banned or restricted for long periods.

Ryanair said the help was unfair and said that it would appeal against the decision at the EU Court of Justice.

Ryanair criticised a French scheme which allowed airlines to delay paying some tax and a Swedish loan guarantee scheme.

The airline has filed 16 awsuits against the European Commission over bailout packages and government help that benefited rivals including Dutch carrier KLM and Germany’s Lufthansa.

Of the French bailout, the court said: „That aid scheme is appropriate for making good the economic damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and does not constitute discrimination.“

For the Swedish scheme, it said the aid was „presumed to have been adopted in the interest of the European Union.“

Other than furlough payments for staff, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has said airlines should rely on their reserves and shareholder bailouts if they are to survive.

bbc news

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