ANNOUNCEMENT 08 Apr 2015In April 2015, the government of France announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
Press release by the EC (in English)
Letter from the EC to France, 08.04.2015 (in French)
On 8 April 2015, the European Commission granted operating aid to French regional airports worth 170 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.
Furthemore, "the intensity of aid is set by reference to the average operating cost funding gaps (ie the amount of operating costs covered by revenue) in the five years preceding the beginning of the period transient (ie from 2009-2013)" (art. 10, letter from the EC to France, 08.04.2015). If the airport has less than 700'000 passengers annually, the aid intensity cap is set at 80%; otherwise at 50%.
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. 30, 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.