ANNOUNCEMENT 05 Sep 2014
On 31 July 2015, the European Commission decided not to raise objections against an aid scheme for start-up airlines in the United Kingdom notified by the British government in September 2014. The annual budget of the scheme is 16.7 million GBP for the years 2015-2019.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
European Commission case summary (SA.39466)
European Commission letter to the UK, 20.08.2015
According to the UK, "The proposed aid ("Protocol for UK Start-Up Aid for Airports of less than 3 million Passengers per annum") is a start-up aid scheme in the aviation sector, whose objective is to create net economic benefits for the UK regions involved by improving the connectivity between these regions and other regions across Europe. [...] The start-up aid will be provided as a direct grant to passenger airlines whose proposals have been accepted [...] The proposed scheme will have a maximum total budget of 60 million GBP, and an indicative annual budget of 16.7 million GBP [...] The proposed scheme will run from 1 September 2015 to 31 March 2019." (para. 4, 6, 10 and 11 letter from the EC to the UK, Brussels 20.08.2015)
Based on the findings of the European Commission, "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." (para. 45 letter from the EC to the UK, Brussels 20.08.2015)
In the GTA database the determination of whether a policy instrument discriminates against foreign commercial interests turns on whether it creates or alters the relative treatment of domestic firms versus foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory because the state aid is not available to competing firms outside of the implementing jurisdiction.