Ryanair Secures Appeals Against Two Aid Measures to Air France

December 20, 2023

Cleary Gottlieb successfully assisted Ryanair before the EU General Court in winning its appeals against European Commission decisions authorizing two aid measures granted by France to Air France during the COVID-19 pandemic, consisting of €7 billion in State loans and guarantees and €4 billion in State recapitalization.

The General Court annulled the two aid measures finding that the Commission erred in defining the beneficiaries of the State aid granted by excluding the Air France-KLM holding and KLM in the Air France I case and KLM in the Air France II case. The General Court assessed the capital, organic, functional, and economic links between the companies of the Air France-KLM group, as well as the contractual framework, the type of aid measure and the context, and on that basis concluded that Air France-KLM and KLM were capable of benefiting, at least indirectly, from the advantages granted by France.

The judgment marks the eighth time the EU General Court has annulled COVID-19 State aid measures at the request of Ryanair, following the rulings in Cases T-34/21 (Lufthansa), T-238/21 (SAS), T-665/20 (Condor), T-643/20 (KLM), T-465/20 (TAP), and T-268/21 (Italian Scheme).

Cleary is assisting Ryanair before the EU Courts in a total of 34 appeals against Commission decisions authorizing State aid granted by a number of Member States to rival air carriers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two judgments for Cases T-216/21 (Air France I) and T-494/21 (Air France II) were issued on December 20, 2023.