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The Concepts of State Resources and Imputability in a Case of Aid Granted Through an Intermediary · Case T-607/17 Volotea · Annotation by Federico Macchi journal article

Annotation of the Judgment of the General Court of the European Union (First Chamber) of 13 May 2020 in Case T-607/17 Volotea v European Commission

Federico Macchi

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 3, Page 365 - 371

The judgment concerns a case of aid granted by national authorities to airlines, through airports operators which were found to be acting as mere intermediaries. In the reasoning of the Court, the first question to establish the presence of aid in favour of airlines was the presence of State resources and imputability to the State of the transfer made by the airports operators to the airlines. This note aims at providing some thoughts on the application of the criteria on State resources and imputability, and their interaction.

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.

The Balancing Test for Operating Aid for Airports under the Aviation Guidelines 2014 journal article

The Role of Economic and Financial Analysis and Evidence

Kristina Schattat, Natalia Budzynska

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 17 (2018), Issue 3, Page 399 - 411

The compatibility assessment of a State aid measure is about balancing its negative effects on trade and competition in the common market with its positive effects in terms of a contribution to the achievement of well-defined objectives of common interest. One key element for the Commission’s so-called ‘balancing test’ of operating aid under the 2014 Aviation Guidelines is an ex-ante business plan ensuring that the company managing the airport will be able to cover all operational costs as of 2024 at the latest. Another key element for the assessment is the analysis of the catchment area of concerned airports. This article discusses the role of financial and economic analysis and evidence in this balancing test. The Commission Decisions published so far on this type of aid have not included many technical details about the economic and financial analysis of the Commission’s assessment. Neither has the Commission published specific guidance for the Member States on these elements. This article aims to shed light on these aspects by not only reviewing the decisional practice of the Commission but by sharing the practical experience of the authors with helping Member States to receive the Commission’s approval for granting operating aid to regional airports. Keywords: Balancing Test; Compatibility Assessment; Economic and Financial Analysis; Operating Aid; Airport; Infrastructure; Aviation Guidelines 2014; Notification; Business Plan; Operating Funding Gap; Cost of Capital; Catchment Area.

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.

Financing of Berlin Brandenburg Airport  ∙ SA.41342 ∙ Annotation by Antigoni Lykotrafiti journal article

Annotation on European Commission Decision of 3 August 2016: State aid SA.41342 (2016/N) – Germany. Financing of Berlin Brandenburg Airport

Antigoni Lykotrafiti

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 16 (2017), Issue 2, Page 299 - 309

This annotation focuses on the latest (out of three) European Commission decisions on the financing of the new Berlin airport by its public shareholders. The decision is important because it deals with a case having a great impact on the Single Market. Moreover, it constitutes the first example of application of the private investor test in airport financing cases after the publication of the Commission Notice on the notion of State aid – the jewel in the crown of the State Aid Modernisation initiative. The commentary points to the link between politics, law and economics in high-profile State aid cases, questioning the effectiveness of EU State aid control. Keywords: Market Economy Investor Principle; Airport Infrastructure; Airport Operator; Traffic Forecast; Severability; Predictability.

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