EU Investigating Ryanair Over State Aid
The EU has started an investigation into whether an agreement between Ryanair and a French tourism body amounted to illegal state aid to the airline.
The European Commission said the investigation will assess whether marketing agreements between the Association for the Promotion of Touristic and Economic Flows (APFTE) and Ryanair regarding Montpellier airport are in line with EU State aid rules.
“Competition in air transport is of fundamental importance for consumers, growth and jobs,” EC Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.
“We will investigate whether regional and local authorities in France granted an undue economic advantage to Ryanair over its competitors, potentially harming other European airlines and having spill-over effects to other European regions.”
Since 2010, APFTE and Ryanair have reached agreements where the low cost airline has received substantial payments in exchange for promoting Montpellier and the surrounding area as a tourist destination on its website, the Commission said.
“The APFTE is an independent association, unrelated to the airport operator, and is funded almost entirely by regional and local public entities. The Commission has therefore concluded on a preliminary basis that the agreements with Ryanair are financed through State resources and attributable to the State.”