European court quashes approval of aid to German airline Condor
BERLIN (AP) – A European Union Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the EU’s approval of â¬ 550 million ($ 670 million) state aid to German airline Condor, backing a challenge by the low-cost airline Ryanair but suspending the application of the decision due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tribunal’s decision was in many ways similar to decisions last month in which it overturned the EU’s approval of 3.4 billion euros in state aid for the Netherlands KLM and a total potential of 1.2 billion euros for Portugal TAP.
In both cases, as in Condor, the application of the judgments was suspended pending further decisions from the EU.
The Luxembourg-based tribunal said the EU’s executive body, the European Commission, needed to come up with more comprehensive reasoning.
The approval of loans to holiday carrier Condor to help it weather the collapse of air travel during the pandemic came shortly after the parent company of Polish airline LOT withdrew from an offer of takeover of the former subsidiary of the collapsed tour operator Thomas Cook.
This resulted in an extension of the insolvency proceedings, from which the restructured company exited at the end of last year. Last month, Condor announced that investor Attestor Capitol would take a controlling stake.
The General Court considered that âit was incumbent on the Commission to examine with particular care whether the cancellation and postponement of Condor flights due to the travel restrictions imposed in the context of the pandemic were indeed the determining cause of the additional costs incurred. . by Condor following the extension of the insolvency proceedings.
The latest move was another success for Irish airline Ryanair, which has also challenged aid to KLM and TAP, but has been blocked in further attempts to challenge state aid to other airlines in the ‘EU.
The European Commission has approved several aid plans for airlines in difficulty following the pandemic. Ryanair also argued that the aid was an unfair bailout by the state.