The Danish Civil Aviation Authority has ordered Aarhus Airport, Denmark’s third biggest, to end its practice of charging Ryanair 35DKK (£3.30) per passenger, half the fee other airlines have to pay, according to the Irish Times.
The authority has threatened to withdraw the airport’s operating licence unless it amends its contract with Ryanair by 1 October.
Authority spokeswoman Tina Larsen said: ‘We warned Aarhus Airport several times this summer, and we will revoke its operating licence if it does not conform to international rules to treat all companies equally. This practice represents an obstacle to competition and constitutes unjustifiable favouritism.’
Ryanair’s strategy of flying to secondary airports, often located some distance from the cities they serve, has helped it keep down costs and hence fares. However, the contracts it has negotiated with airports have come under intense scrutiny recently, with critics claiming they break EU competition laws.
Last month, the airline dropped its Strasbourg service after a French court of appeal failed to stay an earlier decision ruling its deal with the airport illegal. The local chamber of commerce in Strasbourg reportedly gave Ryanair a €1.4m a year reduction in its landing fees as an incentive to start the Stansted service.
Meanwhile, the European Commission is currently investigating Ryanair’s arrangement with Brussels-Charleroi, where the airline is understood to have been the beneficiary of around €1.5m-worth of free office space and staff training, provided by the local Walloon government, which controls the airport.