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EU says Ryanair owes France €9.6 million

Staff writer |
The European Commission said that Ryanair must repay about €9.6 million in illegal state aid it received for its operations in several French regional airports.

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The Commission said Ryanair would have to repay €868,000 related to rebates and marketing arrangements negotiated at Angouleme airport in central France. Ryanair had enjoyed "an undue advantage" and should repay the money so as to "remove the distortion of competition," the Commission said in a statement.

Similar findings at Pau Pyrenees airport required a repayment of €2.4 million with €6.4 million repayable at Nimes airport, both in southern France, it said.

The Commission said it was continuing an investigation into Austria's Klagenfurt airport where airport service and market agreements "appeared to be excessively favourable to Ryanair and therefore could involve incompatible state aid."

Probes into three German regional airports - Dortmund, Leipzig/Halle and Niederrhein-Weeze, where Ryanair is the largest client - found no problems with state-aid payments, it added.

In response, Ryanair said it welcomed the Commission's rulings on the three German airports but would appeal against the other findings.

"All of Ryanair's airport arrangements comply with EU state aid rules and Ryanair has therefore instructed its lawyers to appeal these rulings to the extent they erroneously allege otherwise," it said in a statement.

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