Ryanair has celebrated the EU General Court’s ruling on discriminatory State aid, which favoured Italian airlines over other EU airlines during the pandemic. 

Ryanair appealed the EU Commission’s approval of these subsidies to the EU General Court in 2021, stating that the schemes purposefully ignored airlines that “contribute to the economy and connectivity of the European Union”.

During the Covid pandemic, more than €40bn in State subsidies were gifted to EU flag carriers. In 2020, the Italian government, with the EU Commission’s approval, gave €130 million to some airlines holding an Italian licence.

The judgement also follows on from the EU General Court’s annulments of a €6bn aid package to Lufthansa and €1bn to SAS.

On this backing from the EU Court, a Ryanair spokesperson said: “The judgment confirms that the Commission must act as a guardian of the level playing field in air transport and cannot sign off discriminatory State aid under political pressure by national governments. The Court’s intervention is a triumph for fair competition and consumers across the EU.”