Ryanair has filed an appeal with the European Court of Justice objecting to the European Commission's authorisation of Spain’s rescue plan for Air Europa through the Solvency Support Fund for Strategic Companies.
“Ryanair will take all cases to the European Court of Justice in which state aid is granted that contravenes Community Law, particularly those that undermine the principles of non-discrimination and freedom to provide services,” said a Ryanair Spokesperson.
Ryanair pointed out that Air Europa will receive 475 million euros from the Spanish Government through the Solvency Support Fund for Strategic Companies and 10 billion euros from the Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales, or SEPI.
The Irish airline stressed that the SEPI program is only available for “airlines operating under a Spanish licence" and therefore considers it to be "discriminatory and in breach of EU law".
It’s the first time the Central Government has channeled a rescue package through the fund and once completed Iberia will take another look at Air Europa’s situation with a view to buying the airline.
Iberia declared its intention to take over Air Europa for 1 billion euros a year ago, but the deal ground to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to 475 million euros of public money, Air Europa has a loan of 140 million euros guaranteed by the Official Credit Institute, 600 million euros debt and negative operating results.
Ryanair stepped up its campaign against state aid last September, turning to the European Court of Justice to prevent SAS, Finnair, TAP, Air France, KLM, and Lufthansa being bailed out by their respective governments.