29 April 2020

COVID-19: public financial support for airports under state aid law

ROOM TO MANOEUVRE FOR THE PUBLIC SECTOR AND AIRPORTS

The public sector has the option to support German airports in the COVID-19 crisis as long as this is compliant with state aid law. Whether this will actually happen is primarily a question of political will. State aid law itself does not present any obstacles to this. It offers sufficient flexibility to help airports with public funding to overcome the COVID-19 crisis while respecting competition rules and the Single Market. The European Commission can authorise state aid for airports granted because of the COVID-19 pandemic on two different legal bases. The Guidelines on State aid to airports and airlines are not relevant in this respect. These types of financial aid can also get (larger) airports through the crisis, which have so far operated profitably and never needed help from the state.

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