Ryanair has been ordered by the European Commission to repay £7.9 million in what was found to be illegal state aid.
The airline is set for a legal battle as they have stated their lawyers have been instructed to challenge the Commission’s, the executive arm of the European Union, findings which relate to three French regional airports.
The Commission found that Ryanair had enjoyed ‘an undue advantage’ at Pau, Angouleme and Nimes airports, but were cleared of their operations at three German airports.
Ryanair ceased operating from Angouleme in 2009, but the Commission said the carrier would have to repay £686,000 related to marketing arrangements and rebated so as to ‘remove the distortion of competition’.
Similar findings at Pau Pyrenees airport, which Ryanair stopped using in 2011, required a repayment of £1.9 million with £5 million repayable at Nimes airport.
It is another costly blow for the no-frills airline after last year they were ordered to pay £7.1 million in damages by a French court.
Ryanair’s Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Juliusz Komorek said: “Today’s decisions confirm that Ryanair’s airport agreements at Niederrhein Airport comply with the EU State aid rules.
“Following the closure of this case and the earlier six positive decisions at Aarhus, Bratislava, Charleroi, Marseille, Berlin Schönefeld and Tampere airports, we will immediately appeal the decisions in Pau, Angouleme and Nimes cases where the EU Commission mistakenly suggested that the airports’ agreements with Ryanair did not fully comply with the EU State aid rules.
“Ryanair has to date carried 86.5 million passengers at the 7 airports where our commercial arrangements have been confirmed by the EU Commission and the EU Court to comply with EU law, compared to just 3.4 million passengers at the airports where the Commission today suggested that the airport agreements did not comply with State aid rules.”