LISBON – Irish airline Ryanair challenges Brussels state aid rules

Irish airline Ryanair has challenged the state aid Brussels approved for European airlines due to the COVID-19 crisis before the European Court of Justice. Ryanair also challenged Portugal’s TAP bailout.

According to official information to which Lusa had access on Thursday and which was confirmed by Ryanair, the most recent appeal lodged by Ireland’s low-cost airline against European Commission authorisations for state aid in the aviation sector during the crisis, concerns Portugal’s TAP bailout, and was referred to the general court on 22 July.

This appeal, which was reported by the newspaper Público, aims to overturn the decision of 10 June, when the EU executive gave the ‘green light’ for Portuguese emergency aid to TAP, state support of €1.2 billion to meet immediate liquidity needs in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, with predetermined conditions for reimbursement.

According to the newspaper, in the case of TAP, Ryanair submitted five legal grounds to the general court for attempting to annul the state support, arguing from the outset that it was not properly defined that the bailout contributes to a well-defined objective of common interest, appropriate and proportionate, and without undue negative effects on competition.

Meanwhile, Portugal’s Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) is investigating practices of coercion and replacement of strikers by Ryanair and the temporary employment company Crewlink, denounced by ACT, an official source said on Thursday.

“The investigation, directed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the DIAP [Department of Investigation and Penal Action] in Lisbon, is underway and is subject to judicial secrecy,” Lusa was told when enquiring about the reports made by the Authority for Working Conditions (ACT) regarding situations of coercion and substitution of striking workers.

(Ana Matos Neves and Jorge Eusébio, Lusa.pt)

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