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The Application of the Market Economy Operator Principle in the Aviation Sector journal article

Nicole Robins, Laura Puglisi

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 20 (2021), Issue 1, Page 74 - 86

Economic and financial analysis plays an increasing role in State aid assessments. It is often used to assess whether one of the criteria for State aid to exist is met − namely, whether the State’s intervention confers an economic advantage − as well as specific aspects of whether any aid is compatible with the relevant State aid rules. To determine whether a public measure confers an economic advantage on the beneficiary, the market economy operator principle (MEOP) test is often applied. The rationale behind the test is to assess whether the State is acting in the manner of a private investor. In the aviation sector, the MEOP is applied at various levels, ranging from funding provided by the State to airport owners or operators, to the relationship between publicly owned airports (or those that have received State aid) and airlines. This article provides an overview of the different levels at which the MEOP test is applied in the aviation sector, and its underlying economic and financial principles. Throughout the article, examples are provided to demonstrate how the MEOP test has been applied in practice. Keywords: market economy operator principle; MEOP; market economy investor principle; MEIP; benchmarking; pari passu; profitability analysis


An Illustration of a Textbook Case or Rather of the Principle That the Devil Is in the Detail? · Cases T-607/17 Volotea, T-716/17 Germanwings and T-8/18 easyJet · Annotation by Marianne Clayton, Maria Segura and Lara Manuel journal article

Annotation on the Judgments of the General Court of the European Union (First Chamber) of 13 May 2020 in Cases T-607/17 Volotea v Commission, T-716/17 Germanwings v Commission and T-8/18 easyJet v Commission

Marianne Clayton, Maria Segura, Lara Manuel

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 3, Page 372 - 377

On 13 May 2020, the General Court of the EU rendered three judgments on the actions brought by Volotea, easyJet and Germanwings seeking the annulment of Commission Decision SA.33983. In this Decision, the Commission had inter alia concluded that the aid scheme ‘Compensation to Sardinian airports for public service obligations’ entailed the grant of incompatible aid to several airlines that had concluded commercial agreements with airport operators for the development of the island as a tourist destination. The General Court analysed in these judgments each of the criteria of the notion of State aid on its own merits and provided particularly worth-noting reasoning on concepts such as imputability, indirect advantage, the application of the MEOP or the definition of aid scheme.



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