Friday 19 January 2018

Ryanair sues French government over Air France aid

Heather Smith

Budget airline Ryanair has sued the French government for about €110m saying it improperly aided Air France-KLM Group.

Ryanair filed the complaint with Paris’s administrative tribunal on March 11 and expects hearings next year, the carrier said in a statement today.

France provided “unlawful state aid to Air France in the form of reductions in airport charges on domestic routes,” according to Ryanair.

“Air France benefited from these deductions for decades before the European Commission” prohibited the discounts.

The process for granting slots at French airports “is transparent and public, any company can bid,” Air France spokesman Nicolas Petteau said in a telephone interview. “Ryanair is never a candidate as there is no money to be made.”

Ryanair’s suit was previously reported by Agence France- Presse.

Ryanair and Air France, Europe’s largest airline, have been in a dispute about state support each airline claims the other received.

Paris-based Air France filed a complaint with the European Commission in November over aid to the airline, Petteau said.

“There is no basis for Air France’s false claims that Ryanair receives subsidies or state aid,” Ryanair Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary said yesterday in a statement.

A prior European Court decision in favour of Ryanair “dooms Air France’s claims to failure.”

A spokeswoman for French Transportation Minister Dominique Bussereau didn’t immediately return a call requesting comment.


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