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Public Aid to Airports as a Compensation for the Provision of Services of General Economic Interest journal article

Michele Giannino, Federich Romby

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 17 (2018), Issue 3, Page 338 - 352

The purpose of this article is to provide a comprehensive review of the European Commission’s approach in assessing whether compensation awarded to airports for the provision of Services of General Economic Interest (SGEIs) complies with the EU State aid rules. The article analyses the defensive strategies open for national authorities to claim that airports public service compensation packages are compatible with the internal market. In that regard, the article considers the Altmark doctrine and the compatibility conditions for the application of the SGEI exception in Article 106 TFEU. Then it critically compares the strong and weak points of each of these strategies and also dwells on which factors national authorities have to adduce to prove the compatibility of airport aid. Bearing in mind the difficulties for national authorities to satisfy all the conditions for the application of the Altmark doctrine, the article suggests that the SGEI exception should be the optimal strategy to obtain regulatory clearance of public service compensation to airport.


Operating Aids to Airports: a Review of the Commission’s Decisions on the Application of the 2014 Guidelines journal article

Michele Giannino, Federich Romby

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 16 (2017), Issue 4, Page 567 - 581

By the 2014 Aviation Guidelines the European Commission introduced a brand-new regime for airport operating aid whereby this type of public aid can be lawfully granted if it satisfies certain compatibility conditions. The article reviews the decisional practice developed by the Commission on the application of the competition conditions for airport operating aid, highlighting the circumstances under which such aid may be found to be incompatible. Arguably, the so-called ‘duplication argument’ plays a key role in the Commission assessment of the compatibility of airport operating aid. Indeed, the only two negative decisions so far made by the Commission were based on the consideration that the aid led to the duplication of unviable airport facilities. In contrast, the Commission cleared aid awarded to airports that met demand for air transport services that was not satisfied by the nearby airports. Keywords: Operating Aid; Airport; 2014 Guidelines; Commission Decision.

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