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Ryanair Calls on EU to Block Lufthansa State Aid
Ryanair, Europe's largest international airline, called on the European Commission to prohibit the blatantly unlawful €500m State aid which the Austrian Government intends to grant to Lufthansa on top of the gift of the Austrian Government's 42% stake in Austrian Airlines. Ryanair also confirmed it would appeal any decision by the Commission to allow this unlawful State aid to Lufthansa.
Ryanair's Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Jim Callaghan, said: "The Austrian Government is so desperate to get rid of its national airline that it agreed to pay Lufthansa €500m to take over the Government's 42% stake in the airline! This is in clear violation of the EU State aid rules, as no private investor would pay €500m to dispose of its stake in a virtually bankrupt company. We do not see private owners of the majority stake in Austrian Airlines queuing up to contribute hundreds of millions of euros to dispose of their shares to Lufthansa, so this is yet another case of blatant State aid to yet another EU flag carrier airline.
"Following the Commission's ludicrous decisions last week to allow even more unlawful State aid to Alitalia, we have no confidence that the Commission will uphold its State aid rules and properly investigate this case. However, we remain committed to exposing the Commission's continuing "political corruption" in the application of State aid rules. The EU Commission repeatedly ignores its own State aid rules where flag carriers such as Lufthansa, Air France or Alitalia are the recipients, but then applies a totally different standard when applying these rules to regional airports across Europe. Ryanair will appeal any attempt by the Commission to allow this aid".
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