Ryanair launchesCharleroi appeal
25 May 2004
BRUSSELS – Cut-price airline Ryanair on Tuesday launched an appeal against a European Commission ruling that called on it to pay back millions of euros it received from the Belgian authorities to encourage it to use Charleroi airport in southern Belgium.
Ryanair will appeal against the ruling at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg.
In a statement released on Tuesday Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said he had decided to launch the court action because he believed the Commission’s ruling was “seriously flawed”.
O’Leary’s statement detailed a number of areas where he argues the Commission made mistakes when it argued that the deal Ryanair struck with Charleroi broke EU competition rules.
He said his airline’s decision to develop its operations at Charleroi followed negotiations with several other airports, all of which were free to make better offers to Ryanair.
He also contested the Commission’s argument that state owned Charleroi had been able to attract Ryanair with offers of discounts with which no private airport could have competed.
“Ryanair demonstrated that it had lower costs at several private airports,” the statement said.
O’Leary concluded by saying that he was confident the ECJ would overturn the Commission’s decision and that the Ryanair-Charleroi deal was a “successful partnership” that would be “vindicated”.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news