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HomeAviationAirlines: Commission refuses extension of the French scheme to compensate for costs suffered following the terrorist attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001

Airlines: Commission refuses extension of the French scheme to compensate for costs suffered following the terrorist attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001

The Commission had approved the original scheme to compensate for costs suffered during the four-day closure of airspace following the attacks in the United States.

The Commission had approved the original scheme to compensate for costs suffered during the four-day closure of airspace following the attacks in the United States. By contrast, it considered the extension planned by France after the resumption of flights to the USA to be incompatible with smooth operation of the internal market.



This decision by the Commission ties in fully with its communication of 10 October 2001 on The repercussions of the terrorist attacks in the United States on the air transport industry. In this communication the Commission accepted that some types of aid, including aid for losses suffered through the closure of airspace and intended to compensate for damage caused by natural calamities or other extraordinary events (in the words of the EU Treaty), could be granted to the air transport industry by way of exception.



The Commission nonetheless placed a number of conditions on the authorisation of emergency State aid schemes. Accordingly, only the costs incurred during those four days as a result of flights cancelled or delayed by the national authorities, particularly in the United States, were eligible for compensation.



However, the extension of the French scheme was intended to cover costs borne by the airlines after traffic had resumed; it would therefore have relaxed the conditions placed on use of the €54.9 million budget initially approved by the Commission. The Commission therefore initiated a formal review of this extension.



In the absence, in particular, of similar cases notified by other Member States, the Commission considered that any such extension could lead to significant distortion of competition.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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