European Commission must investigate state aid, says ELFAA

The European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) has called on the European Commission to investigate what it sees as state aid cases concerning SAS, Malev, Spanair, and CSA.

“Although exposed to many of the same cost pressures as their legacy competitors, low-fares airlines have sought no assistance from states,” emphasised ELFAA secretary-general, John Hanlon. “This is why we are looking to the Commission to ensure a level playing field by taking prompt and effective action to eliminate the serious distortions of competition, which result from state aid to ailing carriers.”

ELFAA’s plea is its second such call to the European Commission on this issue in five months. The Association says it remains unclear whether any of the requested investigations have yet been launched

Since sending the earlier ELFAA letter of complaint, further state aid has been extended to SAS, Spanair and Malev. “Unsurprisingly,” says ELFAA, “given the unchecked actions of other states, the Czech Republic has made available a loan of €94 million to CSA”.

“ELFAA has calculated that a combined total of €1.16 billion is being wasted by these governments in propping up these broken business models,” added Hanlon. “This is a scandalous waste of public money at a time when Europe’s economies can ill afford such largesse.

“ELFAA hopes that these cases will be the subject of swift and thorough investigations and that such aid will be repaid if it is found to be in contravention of EU state aid rules,” Hanlon concluded.

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