Posted on: 01 March 2010 by Mark Howells
Wizz Air has declared that it is to call on the European Commission to investigate the Hungarian government’s decision to put financial resources into Malév, the country’s struggling national airline.
Wizz Air will challenge the legal basis of what it describes as Malév’s re-nationalisation. Wizz Air claims there are serious questions over the legality of the transaction. “The decision is clearly another case of illegal state aid, this time €90 million worth of additional capital,” the low-fare carrier stated. There has been no decision from the European Commission approving this transaction, therefore if the Hungarian government implements the recently announced recapitalisation of Malév, it would likely be an unlawful state aid as it clearly violates the state aid rules, it is discriminatory, distorts competition and provides no benefit to the consumer.”
Wizz Air also claims that with this move the Hungarian government is wasting tax payers’ money. “It is deeply concerning that the Hungarian state is wasting further tax payers’ money in these difficult economic times on an ‘investment’ that makes no economic sense as clearly no private investor was prepared to make it. The same money could have been used on measures to alleviate the negative consequences of Malév’s bankruptcy instead of pouring the money into prolonging the existence of the problem,” Wizz Air declared. “Civil aviation is a sector where market liberalisation has resulted in intense competition, to the benefit of consumers. Competition law (including state aid law) is there to protect such competition and the Hungarian government should respect the rules and guard – if not promote – competition instead of distorting it.”