Europe’s second-top court on Wednesday backed Ryanair’s challenge against an Italian state aid, approved by the European Union, for airlines hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, siding again with the airline on this issue.
“The Commission failed to provide a statement of reasons for its finding that the measure at issue was not contrary to EU law provisions other than those governing state aid,” the Luxembourg-based General Court said on Wednesday.
Two weeks ago, the court already ruled in Ryanair’s favour in cases involving pandemic state aid measures for competitors Lufthansa and SAS.
In October 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic which brought travel to a virtual standstill, Italy had notified the European Commission of a €130 million state aid to certain airlines holding an Italian licence.
“According to settled case-law, a decision not to initiate the formal investigation procedure in respect of notified aid must set out the reasons for which the Commission takes the view that it is not faced with serious difficulties in assessing the compatibility of the aid at issue with the internal market,” the court said in a statement.
“The General Court finds that that has not been done here.”