Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
You are here: Home Breaking news State aid for Beziers airport, Ryanair link in EU probe

State aid for Beziers airport, Ryanair link in EU probe

— filed under: , ,
State aid for Beziers airport, Ryanair link in EU probe

Ryanair - Photo Curren

(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission opened an investigation Monday into whether operating aid granted to Béziers airport in France and marketing agreements with Ryanair are in line with EU State aid rules.

Béziers airport -a regional airport in the French region of Occitanie - served more than 250,000 passengers in 2019. It was owned and managed from 2007 to 2011 by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Béziers St Pons, and since 2011 until today by the Syndicat mixte ''Pôle aéroportuaire Béziers Cap d'Agde Hérault - Occitanie''. The latter is exclusively composed of local and regional public authorities.

The Commission received a complaint concerning operating aid granted to the successive operators of Béziers airport from 2007 to today. The complaint also concerned marketing and airport services agreements concluded between Ryanair and the Béziers airport operators under the same period. The complainant alleged that the operating aid and the agreements amounted to illegal State aid in favour of Ryanair and the Béziers airport.

With respect to the Béziers airport operators, following a preliminary assessment, the Commission is opening an in-depth investigation as it has concerns that the operating aid is incompatible with the single market. In particular, the operating aid was granted by several local and public authorities to the operators, it was imputable to the State, involved public resources and granted an undue and selective advantage to the airport operators that potentially affected competition and trade between Member States.

With respect to Ryanair, following a preliminary assessment, the Commission has decided to open an in-depth investigation in relation to:

  • Certain marketing agreements concluded since 2009 between the Syndicat mixte and Ryanair;
  • Airport services agreements concluded since 2007 between the Béziers airport operators and Ryanair.

At this stage, the Commission has concerns that the agreements in question may give Ryanair an undue economic advantage vis-à-vis its competitors that might amount to incompatible aid in favour of Ryanair.

The Commission says it will now investigate further to find out whether its initial concerns are confirmed. It stresses that opening an investigation does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

The EU executive has in recent years concluded a number of cases regarding aid to airlines aimed at attracting or maintaining airlines' aircraft capacity at certain airports, finding that they were not in line with State aid rules. These include airports at Montpellier, Nîmes, Pau, and Angoulême in France, Altenburg-Nobitz in Germany, Klagenfurt in Austria, and the Sardinian airports of Cagliari, Olbia and Alghero in Italy.

The Commission is currently investigating further agreements between public authorities and airlines in certain regional airports, for example concerning the German airport of Frankfurt-Hahn or the Spanish airports of Reus and Girona.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.47970 in the State Aid Register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

Commission guidelines on state aid to airports and airlines

Document Actions