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State aid: Commission approves three aid schemes for the French aviation sector

Today the Commission approved, for the first time, three state aid schemes for airports and airlines on the basis of the new Guidelines on State aid to airports and airlines adopted in February 2014. The Commission considers, in particular, that these schemes for the French aviation sector promote regional connectivity without causing undue distortion of competition in the Single Market. The schemes will enable France to grant individual aid that complies with the criteria laid down in the Guidelines without further intervention by the Commission.

Ms Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner responsible for competition policy, said: “These Commission decisions illustrate the effectiveness of the new rules on state aid to airports and airlines. The three aid schemes approved today will enable more sustainable support to the European aviation sector, thereby improving the mobility of citizens.”

The three aid schemes notified by France concern the three main types of aid governed by the new Guidelines, namely investment aid and operating aid to airports and start-up aid for new routes. The Commission takes the view that the schemes, which have been approved for a period of 10 years, and the monitoring arrangements put in place by the French authorities will ensure that France complies fully with the new Guidelines.

The schemes will provide a clear and effective legal and economic framework for aviation operators, while promoting the coherent use of public funds for the benefit of the various stakeholders. The aid will therefore help to improve regional connectivity, combat air traffic congestion and facilitate regional development.

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