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Ryanair To Take Legal Action Over State Aid

Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:44 am

Ryanair plans to sue the European Commission for not investigating complaints over state aid to some of Europe’s best known airlines.
The no-frills giant claims Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, Alitalia and Olympic Airways have received hundreds of millions of euros in illegal state assistance.
Ryanair’s head of regulatory affrais, Jim Callaghan, said: “We are confident the European Court will take the commission to task for their failure to fairly enforce the state aid rules against national governments who continue to protect their inefficient flag carrier airlines.”
Ryanair accused the French government of giving discounted airport fees to Air France, German authorities of building a new terminal at Munich airport for Lufthansa, the Italian government of bailing out Alitalia and the Greek government of giving “massive injections of state aid” to ailing national carrier Olympic.
A spokesman for the commission said he is confident it acted “fairly and effectively,” adding: “The organisation will study the complaints carefully as soon it receives notification of Ryanair's court case.”
Meanwhile, the commission is investigating government aid given by Germany and Finland for regional airports that may have benefited no-frills airlines, including Ryanair. Three years ago, the commission ruled the Irish carrier received illegal aid at Belgium's Charleroi airport and ordered it to pay back a portion of the assistance.