EU to phase out state airport aid
EUROPEAN Union regulators aim to rule by September whether state aid granted to 28 airports and budget airlines, such as Ryanair, is legal, the European Commission said yesterday, as it unveiled tougher laws to ban public funds for big airports.
The new rules replace 1994 and 2005 guidelines and specify whether and how much aid EU authorities can grant to the more than 460 airports across the 28-country bloc. Airports under investigation include several in Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Romania and Spain, with a number involving Ryanair.
Airports that serve more than five million passengers a year will be banned from receiving state aid in future unless there is a clear market failure. Aid for smaller airports with fewer than three million travellers, which includes several Irish hubs, will have to be phased out over a 10-year period.