The Court of Justice of the EU has definitively rejected Ryanair’s appeals against the state aid measures implemented by France and Sweden during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measures included a deferral of aviation taxes in France (for operators holding a French license) and a loan guarantee scheme in Sweden (for operators holding a Swedish license).

The European Commission had approved these aid measures, and Ryanair challenged the decisions before the General Court, which ruled in favor of the measures’ compliance with EU law. In particular, the General Court had found that the postponement of payments implemented by France was deemed suitable for addressing the economic harm resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and was not considered discriminatory. Additionally, the Swedish aid scheme was presumed to have been implemented in the EU’s interest.

On 23 November 2023, the Court of Justice upheld the General Court’s judgments, emphasizing that aid cannot be deemed incompatible with the internal market solely based on selectivity or potential distortion of competition. The Court of Justice thus confirmed its case law in cases involving Ryanair’s unsuccessful challenge of Danish and Swedish state aid to SAS (cases C 320/21 P and C-321/21 P).

Reference: cases C‑209/21 P (ECLI:EU:C:2023:905) and C‑210/21 P (ECLI:EU:C:2023:908).

Full text of the decision available at en
Full text of the decision available at en