The European Commission has concluded that agreements between the manager of Altenburg-Nobitz Airport and Ryanair gave the LCC an unfair advantage and was tantamount to state aid.
Following an investigation launched in January 2012, the commission has found that certain service and marketing agreements between the airport manager, the Irish carrier and its marketing subsidiary, AMS, cannot be justified.
The agreements are estimated to have given Altenburg-Nobitz an “undue advantage” worth €318,569, an amount that Ryanair and AMS are being ordered to repay.
In a statement, the commission said: “In combination with the 2010 marketing agreement, the marketing agreement in 2003 and the 2003 airport service agreement, do involve state aid.
“Indeed, the 2010 marketing agreement could not have been reasonably expected to improve the financial situation of the airport when it was entered into. No private operator would have accepted similar conditions, therefore the arrangements involve state aid.”
Since the beginning of 2014, the commission has adopted 24 decisions concerning investment and operating aid to airports and/or airlines, including Berlin Schönefeld, Marseille, Dortmund and Frankfurt Hahn.