ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYNo
On 8 April 2015, the European Commission granted investment aid to French regional airports worth 225 million EUR (valued in 2014 price level) over 9 years.
The airports shall be eligible for aid if their annual passenger traffic did not surpass 3 million in the last 2 years. The scheme shall also not be available for passenger airports with a joint cargo airport of at least 200'000 tons a year; where the construction of a new passenger airport is planned; or where there is a neighbouring airport situated less than 100km or a 1 hour drive away.
Furthermore, the aid programme will have an aid intensity cap of 75% if it has less than 1 million passenger annually and a cap of 50% in the case of 1-3 million passengers. This limit may be raised by 20% in "remote areas" (art. 10, letter from the EC to France, 08.04.2015).
According to the French authorities, there were 77 airports in 2012 serving between 1'000 and 3 million passenger annually.
According to the Commission,"the airports are in competition for the management of airport infrastructure, including in local and regional airports. Public financing of an airport may therefore distort competition in the market operation of airport infrastructure. The Commission also notes that the financial support to French airports is likely to affect the airline industry in Europe's economy, since the aid will change the strategic choices of airlines to serve or not to serve certain airport platforms located in other Member-States. Finally, the Commission notes that the aid to airports is likely to modify the relative market share of air transport over other transport substitutes (for example roads or railways), and thus affects transport operators likely to offer competing services in the single market. Consequently, public financing of airports offering services from these airports is likely to affect trade between Member States" (art. 28, letter from the EC to France, 08.04.2015; own translation). However, the EC deemed the state aid to be compatible with the single market.
The aid programme started on 4 April 2015 and will last until 3 April 2024.
The GTA includes state guarantees and other financial incentives that are likely to affect the restructuring and performance of firms facing international competition, whether from imports, in export markets, and from foreign subsidiaries.
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