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News article3 December 2021Representation in Ireland

State aid: European Commission approves amendment to Irish scheme to compensate airport operators in the context of the coronavirus outbreak

The Commission has approved under EU State aid rules an amendment to an existing Irish scheme to compensate airport operators for the losses caused by the coronavirus outbreak and the travel restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the virus.

Image with text: #EUStateAid and Coronavirus

The original scheme was approved by the European Commission in February 2021 (SA.59709).

The aid consists of three measures:

(i) a damage compensation measure;

(ii) an aid measure to support the airport operators in the form of limited amounts of aid; and

(iii) an aid measure to support the uncovered fixed costs of these companies.

Ireland notified the following modifications to the existing scheme: (i) a budget increase for damage compensation by €87.5 million; and (ii) a modification of the eligibility criteria for granting limited amounts of aid to include airport operators handling fewer than 3 million passengers per year and to increase the budget of this measure by €3.5 million. The European Commission assessed the amendment to the first measure under Article 107(2)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which enables the European Commission to approve State aid measures granted by Member States to compensate companies for the damage directly caused by exceptional occurrences, such as the coronavirus outbreak.

The European Commission found that the scheme will compensate damages that are directly linked to the coronavirus outbreak. It also found that the measure is proportionate, as the envisaged compensation does not exceed what is necessary to make good the damage. With regard to the amendments to the measure concerning limited amounts of aid, the European Commission found that they are in line with the conditions set out in the State aid Temporary Framework as amended on 18 November 2021.

The European Commission therefore concluded that the scheme, as amended, is in line with EU State aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the European Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.100481 in the State aid register on the European Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.



Publication date
3 December 2021
Representation in Ireland