EU court rejects 2 Ryanair challenges of airline subsidies

BRUSSELS (AP) — A top European Union court dealt another blow to Ryanair on Wednesday and rejected the low-cost carrier’s arguments that the aid Sweden, Denmark and Finland gave two other airlines to get through the COVID-19 crisis was illegal.

The Luxembourg-based EU General Court said the subsidies Denmark and Sweden granted to Scandinavian carrier SAS “comply with EU law.” It said likewise of a Finnish loan guarantee for Finnair.

The General Court handed down two similar decisions two months ago in different cases involving France and Sweden.

The EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, which polices state aid and other competition issues, has approved several aid plans for struggling airline companies in the wake of the pandemic, especially after border closures and other restrictions halted most air travel.

Ryanair had argued that the aid constituted unfair state bailouts for national carriers.

A statement from the court on the SAS ruling said it “confirms for the first time the legality of individual aid measures adopted in order to address the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The rulings of the General Court can be appealed on points of law only.

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