Commission probes public support at Carcassonne airport
By Sophie Mosca | Wednesday 04 April 2012
The financial arrangements between public authorities and the airport of Carcassonne in France, as well as rebates and marketing agreements between this airport and Ryanair airline may be incompatible with EU state aid rules. The Commission therefore opened an in-depth investigation, on 4 April, to review the measures and to give third parties the opportunity to submitcomments.The regional airport of Carcassonne, owned by the Languedoc-Roussillon Region, was operated by the local Chamber of Commerce until May 2011, and subsequently by Veolia Transport.
The investigation will focus on four points in particular.First, the €11 million in subsidies received from several public bodies (region, Department of Aude, City of Carcassonne) to finance infrastructure projects may run counter to EU guidelines on state aid in the aviation sector.Second, various aid measures, including a subsidy of more than €8 million for the airport’s operation and cash advances, could constitute operating aid in breach of EU state aid rules. Third, public subsidies granted to Veolia linked to the number of routes operated from this airport and infrastructure investments may likewise not be in line with EU rules.Fourth, marketing agreements with Ryanair and discounts on airport charges may have given this airline an undue economic advantage that its competitors do not enjoy. Ryanair is the only commercial user of the airport.