Aerospace and DefenceEuropean State Aid Law26.05.2021Frankfurt am Main News

Oppenhoff represents Lufthansa in a successful legal action against airport state aid

Oppenhoff has represented Deutsche Lufthansa in a successful action before the General Court of the European Union (T-218/18). In a judgment of 19 May 2021, the Court annulled a decision of the European Commission by which the authority had authorized the state of Rhineland-Palatinate to cover operating losses of Hahn Airport of up to 25.3 million euro in the time period from 2017 to 2021.

Lufthansa took action because it considers this support to constitute a distortion of competition in favor of Ryanair. The Court ruled that the European Commission had not adequately checked whether the public funding was compatible with the internal market. In particular, the Commission should have more thoroughly checked the catchment area of Hahn Airport, as in Lufthansa’s opinion this area also included Frankfurt am Main Airport. Questions concerning the business models of both airports had also not been clarified and hence not “all concerns regarding the compatibility of the disputed aid with the internal market“ had been eliminated.

A team, led by partner Dr. Andrés Martin-Ehlers, represented Lufthansa in these proceedings from the outset: “We are delighted that the Court has followed our line of argument”.

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