Ryanair makes Air France complaint

12th May 2006

Ryanair has launched a complaint to the European Commission against Air France regarding approximately €1 billion in illegal state aid that Air France has received from the French Government over the past number of years.Ryanair says the French Government has maintained an airport charging system whereby landing and passenger charges for domestic routes are often up to 50% lower than on routes between France and other EU Member States. This is illegal under European law and the European Commission has sued other Governments for similar differentiated charging.

Ryanair is claiming that as a result of this unfair price advantage Air France has received almost a €1 billion in illegal state aid, which has furthered their dominance in the French market and has placed competitors like Ryanair at a serious competitive disadvantage. Ryanair have therefore called on the European Commission to require the French Government to regularise their charging system and to force Air France to repay this illegal state aid.

Announcing the complaint against Air France, Ryanair’s Head of Regulatory Affairs, Jim Callaghan, said:

“Air France has a rampant monopoly in the French market and this dominance has been enhanced by the illegal airport charging system that has been maintained in France, despite rulings by the European Commission in other EU member states. These substantially lower charges on domestic French routes, on which Air France has an almost complete monopoly, have allowed them to make super profits on domestic routes and to cross subsidise their international routes, on which they compete with airlines like Ryanair. As a result, France is the only major EU country that does not have a significant low fares airline presence.

“For far too long, the French Government have been protecting Air France from competition and this is the most blatant example. Ryanair are now asking the European Commission to take urgent action against the French Government and to force Air France to repay this illegal state aid in order to remove the distortion of competition in the French market”.



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