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Lufthansa. Brussels launches investigation into aid to German giant

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The European Commission opened an investigation on Monday into the six billion euros of state aid granted by the German government to Lufthansa during the COVID-19 pandemic. The EC intends to check whether Berlin provided support to the airline in line with EU rules.

The state aid was approved in June 2020 by the EC. In order to benefit from it, Lufthansa had to comply with a number of obligations, such as a ban on paying dividends and strict limits on executive pay, including a ban on bonuses. In addition, Lufthansa had to get rid of up to 24 slots per day at Frankfurt and Munich airports to allow rival carriers to set up bases there.

Judgment of the EU court

In its judgment of 10 May 2023, the General Court of the EU, which is part of the Court of Justice of the EU, annulled the EC decision, finding that the aid had not been granted in accordance with EU rules. After the judgment of the General Court of the EU, the Commission announced that it would conduct a more detailed investigation. This gives To the Germans and interested third parties the opportunity to submit comments.

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Lufthansa comments

Lufthansa's appeal against the EU General Court's decision is still pending. At the same time, the group has already repaid the aid in full, which may limit the immediate effects of the court's ruling. However, it may have consequences for future rescue plans for the companies.

A Lufthansa spokesman said the company had anticipated in its 2023 annual report that the Commission would open a formal investigation, as it has done in similar cases.

Lufthansa's airlines include Swiss International, Brussels Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Air Dolomiti, Eurowings, Germanwings GmbH, Edelweiss Air, and SunExpress Deutschland. They operate flights to over 300 destinations in around 100 countries with a fleet of over 700 aircraft.

Main image source: Shutterstock

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