Ryanair DAC v European Commission.

JurisdictionEuropean Union
CourtGeneral Court (European Union)
Docket NumberT-268/21
Celex Number62021TJ0268
Date24 May 2023


24 May 2023 (*)

(State aid – Italian air transport market – Compensation scheme for airlines with an Italian operating licence – Decision not to raise any objections – Aid intended to make good the damage caused by an exceptional occurrence – Obligation to state reasons)

In Case T‑268/21,

Ryanair DAC, established in Swords (Ireland), represented by E. Vahida, F.‑C. Laprévote, V. Blanc, S. Rating, I.-G. Metaxas-Maranghidis and D. Pérez de Lamo, lawyers,



European Commission, represented by L. Flynn, C. Georgieva and F. Tomat, acting as Agents,


supported by

Neos SpA, established in Somma Lombardo (Italy),

Blue panorama airlines SpA, established in Somma Lombardo,

Air Dolomiti SpA – Linee aeree regionali Europee, established in Villafranca de Verona (Italy),

represented by M. Merola and A. Cogoni, lawyers,


THE GENERAL COURT (Tenth Chamber),

composed, at the time of the deliberations, of A. Kornezov, President, E. Buttigieg and G. Hesse (Rapporteur), Judges,

Registrar: S. Spyropoulos, Administrator,

having regard to the written part of the procedure,

further to the hearing on 24 November 2022,

gives the following

Judgment (1)

1 By its action under Article 263 TFEU, the applicant, Ryanair DAC, seeks the annulment of Commission Decision C(2020) 9625 final of 22 December 2020 on State aid SA.59029 (2020/N) – Italy – COVID-19: Compensation scheme for airlines with an Italian operating licence (‘the contested decision’).

Background to the dispute

2 By decreto-legge n. 34 – Misure urgenti in materia di salute, sostegno al lavoro e all’economia nonche’ di politiche sociali connesse all’emergenza epidemiologica da COVID-19 (Decree-Law No 34 on urgent health, labour support, economy and social-policy measures related to the COVID-19 epidemiological emergency), of 19 May 2020 (Ordinary Supplement to GURI No 128 of 19 May 2020, p. 1), as amended and converted into law by Law No 77 of 17 July 2020 (Ordinary Supplement to GURI No 180 of 18 July 2020, p. 1) (‘Decree-Law No 34’), the Italian authorities established, inter alia, a compensation fund of EUR 130 million for the damage suffered by the aviation sector in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

3 On 14 August 2020, the Italian authorities adopted decreto-legge n. 104 – Misure urgenti per il sostegno e il rilancio dell’economia (Decree-Law No 104 laying down urgent measures to support and relaunch the economy) (Ordinary Supplement to GURI No 203 of 14 August 2020, p. 1). That decree-law authorised, pending completion of the procedure provided for in Article 108(3) TFEU, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport of the Italian Republic to grant, by way of advance, subsidies financed by the fund created by Decree-Law No 34 in a total amount not exceeding EUR 50 million to airlines satisfying the eligibility conditions set out in Article 198 of Decree-Law No 34.

4 On 15 October 2020, in accordance with Article 108(3) TFEU, the Italian Republic notified the European Commission of an aid measure consisting in subsidies paid out of the fund created by Decree-Law No 34 (‘the measure at issue’). That measure, the legal basis of which is Article 198 of Decree-Law No 34, is intended to make good the damage suffered by eligible airlines as a result of travel restrictions and other containment measures taken to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

5 The conditions of eligibility, as set out in Article 198 of Decree-Law No 34, are as follows. First, the airline must not be the beneficiary of a fund created by another decree-law which provided for compensation for damage caused by the COVID‑19 pandemic for airlines holding a licence issued by the Italian authorities and entrusted with the performance of public service obligations on the date of entry into force of that decree-law. Second, the airline must hold a valid air operator certificate and an Italian licence. Third, the capacity of the airline’s aircraft must be greater than 19 places. Fourth, the airline must apply to its employees whose home base is in Italy and to employees of third-party undertakings taking part in its activity remuneration which may not be lower than the minimum remuneration established by the national collective agreement applicable to the air transport sector, concluded by the employers’ organisations and trade unions considered to be the most representative at national level (‘the minimum remuneration requirement’).

6 On 22 December 2020, by the contested decision, the Commission decided not to raise objections to the measure at issue, on the ground that that measure, including the eligibility conditions, was compatible with the internal market.

Forms of order sought

7 The applicant claims that the Court should:

– annul the contested decision;

– order the Commission and the interveners, Neos SpA, Blue panorama airlines SpA and Air Dolomiti SpA – Linee aeree regionali Europee, to pay the costs.

8 The Commission contends that the Court should:

– dismiss the action as unfounded;

– order the applicant to pay the costs.

9 The interveners contend that the Court should:

– dismiss the application as inadmissible and, in any event, unfounded;

– order the applicant to pay the costs.



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