Ryanair Holdings Plc notched up another court victory in its fight against Covid-19 bailouts to rivals, this time winning its challenge to a €130 million ($140 million) subsidy for Italian carriers affected by the pandemic.
The EU’s General Court on Wednesday annulled the European Commission’s 2020 decision to clear the Italian aid package under the bloc’s state-aid rules, saying regulators failed to spell out why it didn’t distort competition.
The decision “failed to set out in a clear and transparent manner” the reasons for the EU’s approval decision, EU judges said. The ruling can be appealed.
The Dublin-based low-cost carrier has filed more than two dozen challenges to EU approvals for pandemic aid doled out by governments to carriers, including Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Air France-KLM. Its latest victory was a shock win earlier this month when the EU court annulled Germany’s massive Covid-related bailout of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.
Ryanair celebrated its victory, calling it a “triumph for fair competition and consumers across the EU.”
“While the Covid-19 crisis caused serious damage to all airlines, many national governments, including Italy, rushed through discriminatory subsidy schemes limited to their own former flag carriers, ignoring other airlines that contribute to the economy and the connectivity of the European Union,” the company said in a statement.