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The COVID-19 State Aid Judgments of the General Court … Every Man for Himself? · Cases T-238/20 and T-259/20 Ryanair v Commission · Annotation by Juan Jorge Piernas López Journal Artikel

Annotation on the Judgments of the General Court (Tenth Chamber, Extended Composition) of 17 February 2021 in Cases T-238/20 Ryanair v Commission and T‑259/20 Ryanair v Commission

Juan Jorge Piernas López

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 20 (2021), Ausgabe 2, Seite 258 - 269

These judgments raise, for the first time, key questions concerning the legality of State aid schemes adopted to address the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic under Article 107(2)(b) TFEU and Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and, fundamentally, for the State aid discipline.


State Aid Junkies, Viruses and the Aviation Industry: Journal Artikel

Ryanair’s Litigation against Approved Aid Measures for Airlines During the Pandemic

Christopher McMahon

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 20 (2021), Ausgabe 2, Seite 249 - 257

During the pandemic, many Member States have engaged in more interventionist policies to sustain their economies through tough public health restrictions. This has manifested itself in the provision of large quantities of State aid to elements of the aviation industry by Member States, facilitated by the relatively permissive policies of the European Commission. The Irish low-cost airline Ryanair has been a notable and outspoken critic of these measures, describing them as ‘state aid crack cocaine’ and their beneficiaries as ‘state aid junkies’ and has launched an aggressive programme of litigation to annul the decisions approving the aid. This article reviews the first nine of the judgments of the General Court that this litigation has produced to date, three of which have led to the annulment of the Commission’s approval of the aid. This article will go on to assess the impact of these decisions and examine the contribution they make towards understanding the State aid response of the EU and its Member States to the pandemic. It will be suggested that the General Court has generally taken a tolerant attitude towards pandemic-related aid for aviation, upholding the approval of individual aid and allowing Member States to confine the aid to recipients with a close connection to their own economies. Keywords: COVID-19; Temporary Framework; aviation; non-discrimination.


State Aid and COVID-19: Journal Artikel

With a Particular Focus on the Air Transport Sector

Petar Petrov

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 20 (2021), Ausgabe 4, Seite 461 - 478

The outbreak of COVID-19 has devastating effects on national economies and on various business sectors. To prevent even harder consequences, Member States have adopted various support packages in order to support the hardest-hit businesses, including air carriers and airports. In order to support Member States’ initiatives, the European Commission has adopted temporary applicable State aid rules deemed more appropriate to these extraordinary circumstances. Without surprise, the rather fast authorisation of a number of State aid support schemes has open the door to litigation, giving the EU courts the occasion to rule on a number of matters. Given the importance of air carriers for both Member States’ economies and connectivity, the current paper focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on air carriers and on the recent State aid developments in this field. Keywords: support schemes; COVID-19; Temporary Framework; airlines; aviation; non-discrimination; balance of interests


The Swedish Aviation Tax: Journal Artikel

Some Initial Comments from a State Aid Perspective

Yvette Lind

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 19 (2020), Ausgabe 3, Seite 290 - 296

The article concerns the Swedish aviation tax which was introduced in 2018. A tax policy approach is applied to not only consider tax technicalities but also the ideals and goals of the tax from the perspective of the Swedish legislature. Resulting in an inclusion of not only legal aspects but also a consideration of how politics and economics influences the design of such a tax. The author concludes that there are several potential State aid problems with the present design of the tax, eg too low tax rates in order to fulfil its environmental policy objective, an exemption of transit and transfer passengers that distorts the competition between airlines and which is not justified or exempted from State aid rules. Keywords: aviation taxes, fiscal State aid, emission offsetting, carbon offset, polluter pays principle, Sweden


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 Artikel

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, Jahrgang 19 (2020), Ausgabe 3, Seite 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 Artikel

Michele Giannino, Federich Romby

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 17 (2018), Ausgabe 3, Seite 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 Artikel

The Role of Economic and Financial Analysis and Evidence

Kristina Schattat, Natalia Budzynska

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 17 (2018), Ausgabe 3, Seite 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.

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