ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYNo
On 31 July 2015, the European Commission allowed state aid worth 60 million GBP (annual budget of 16.7 million GBP) to the United Kingdom for establishing new air travel routes between British airports and given destinations in the Common European Aviation Area.
The aid is directed at airports with less than 3 million passengers annually in the last two calendar years and will be distributed directly to airlines who have secured a tender to operate on one of the selected routes. The aid shall cover up to 50% of the airport charges incurred by the airline on the new route.
The programme will run from 1 September 2015 until 31 March 2019 and is planned to benefit between 11 and 50 airlines of all sizes.
The Commission argued that "support by the UK authorities of new air services distorts or threatens to distort competition between airlines and affects trade between Member States as air transport services is a fully liberalised activity in the internal market, in which many undertakings from different Member States compete against each other." (art. 45, letter from the EC to the UK, 31.07.2015). However, the EC deemed the state aid to be compatible with the single market.
A state measure in the GTA database is assessed solely in terms of the extent to which its implementation affects the extent of discrimination against foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory.
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