The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules: €2.55 billion of restructuring aid to enable the Group Transportes Aéreos Portugueses SGPS S.A. and the airline TAP Air Portugal return to viability; and €107.1 million aid to compensate TAP Air Portugal for damages suffered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic between 1 July 2020 and 30 December 2020.
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On 10 June 2021, Portugal formally notified to the Commission restructuring aid, with the aim of financing a restructuring plan of TAP Group through TAP Air Portugal.
On 16 July 2021, the Commission opened an in depth investigation to further assess the compliance of the proposed restructuring plan submitted by Portugal for TAP SGPS and of the related aid with the conditions of the Guidelines on rescue and restructuring aid. On the same day, it re approved €1.2 billion rescue aid in favour of the airline following the annulment of the initial rescue aid decision by the General Court.
Following its in depth investigation and the comments from interested parties and Portugal, the Commission has approved the proposed restructuring plan. The support will take the form of €2.55 billion equity or quasi equity measures, including the conversion of the €1.2 billion rescue loan into equity.
In addition, TAP SGPS and TAP Air Portugal will be banned from any acquisitions and will reduce its fleet until the end of the restructuring plan, streamlining its network and adjusting to the latest forecasts that estimate demand not picking-up before 2023 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
TAP Air Portugal will make available up to 18 slots per day at Lisbon airport to a competing carrier. These measures will enable the lasting entry or expansion of a competing carrier at this airport, to the benefit of consumers.
Portugal notified to the Commission another aid measure amounting to a total of €107.1 million to compensate TAP Air Portugal for damage it suffered between 1 July 2020 and 30 December 2020 as a direct result of the travel restrictions in place to limit the spread of the virus.
The Commission found that the measure is proportionate, as the compensation does not exceed what is necessary to make good the damage. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the Portuguese measure is in line with EU State aid rules. ■