LOT Polish Latest To Face Aid Legal Action From Ryanair

Ryanair is sticking to its habit of contesting state aid packages provided to European airlines. The latest complaint…

LOT Polish Latest To Face Aid Legal Action From Ryanair

Ryanair is sticking to its habit of contesting state aid packages provided to European airlines. The latest complaint Ryanair made was to the European Court of Justice against LOT Polish Airlines, the national airline and flag carrier of Poland.

LOT Polish Airlines received state aid from Poland, and Ryanair is challenging this. Photo: Getty Images

LOT Polish Airlines is the latest in a long line

As has become standard practice for Ryanair, this pan-European airline is contesting yet another package of state aid provided to a European national airline during the ongoing pandemic.

The latest airline under the spotlight is LOT Polish Airlines, for which Ryanair launched the appeal this month, July 2021.

LOT Polish received PLN 2.9 billion ($787 million) in state aid in December 2020. Two-thirds of that amount came in the form of a loan, and a third came in the form of a capital increase.

Speaking to Puls Biznesu, Juliusz Komorek, a board member of the Ryanair group, said (translated):

“We appealed to the General Court of the European Court of Justice against the decision in the LOT case, at the beginning of July. The case is pending. The next step will be the reaction of the European Commission and probably the intervention of Poland that will support it. I suspect that the entire process will not take place until 2022.”

LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 737-400
LOT Polish received PLN three billion. Photo: Getty Images

LOT Polish has already responded

An official from LOT Polish Airlines has already responded to this news, also speaking to Puls Biznesu. Krzysztof Moczulski, a spokesman for LOT, said:

“Ryanair accuses the European Commission, among other things, of misapplication of state aid rules, including of recapitalization as a support measure, instead of other, less market-distorting forms. It should be noted, however, that before adopting the decision, the Commission carefully analyzed the LOT case, the conditions of the aid provided, the necessity for it, and the appropriateness of the forms of support accepted.”

Why does LOT need state aid?

In 2019, LOT Polish carried just under 10,5 million passengers. In 2020, the number was just slightly over three million, representing a drop of over 70%.

The drop is particularly striking because LOT had extensive expansion plans for 2020, and it was projecting double-digit passenger growth from 2019 to 2020, so the actual damage to the airline as a result of the pandemic is in effect far greater than a 70% loss.

The airline made a loss of over a billion PLN ($260 million) in 2020

Ryanair Lufthansa
Ryanair continues to appeal state aid decisions. Photo: Getty Images

Ryanair continues to launch appeals

Ryanair launched 17 appeals against the European Commission so far, challenging the approval of multiple billions of euros that European governments have provided to their national airlines during COVID-19.

Two of these appeals have so far been successful: in May, the European Union’s General Court determined that state aid granted to Air France-KLM and TAP violated the rules. Still, the airlines have not been asked to repay the funds they received.

What do you think of Ryanair launching appeals against the provision of state aid for loss-making European national airlines? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Canada’s Air Transat Operates Its First Flights In 6 Months

After an uncertain flightless period lasting half a year, Canadian carrier Air Transat is finally back in the…

Canada’s Air Transat Operates Its First Flights In 6 Months

After an uncertain flightless period lasting half a year, Canadian carrier Air Transat is finally back in the skies. The return to service marks the beginning of a diverse summer program at the airline. This will see it serve a range of leisure destinations as far afield as Europe. It also plans to tap into increased domestic demand with additional internal flights.

Today will see three scheduled Air Transat flights take to the skies. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Returning to the skies

2021 has been a challenging year for Canadian carrier Air Transat. It started off well, with a proposed merger with flag carrier Air Canada receiving governmental approval in February. However, this hit an obstacle two months later, when the industry crisis forcing the airlines to cancel the merger in April. Travel restrictions have also impacted operations.

Indeed, Air Transat has also been unable to operate scheduled commercial flights for half a year. It had hoped to recommence these in June, but it is only today that the airline has returned to the skies. Its first post-suspension revenue-earning service connected Montréal with Punta Cana (Dominican Republic). Annick Guérard, its President and CEO, stated:

It is with great joy and excitement that we return to the skies after these long months of suspension. We are thrilled to finally reunite with our travellers and allow them to reconnect with their favourite destinations through our world-renowned travel experience.”

TS374 Flightpath
TS374 to Punta Cana was Air Transat’s first post-suspension scheduled service. Image: RadarBox.com

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Today’s other services

While TS374 from Montréal to Punta Cana departed nearly half an hour late, RadarBox.com forecasted an early arrival of 11:44 (STA 11:55) at the time of writing. The aircraft operating this service was an Airbus A321LR registered as C-GOIF. This next-generation narrowbody will also presumably be operating the return flight back to Montréal.

This service, numbered as TS375, is set to leave Punta Cana at 13:15 local time. It will touch back down in Canada at 17:45. Air Transat’s third and final flight of its first day back in the skies will be a domestic jaunt from Montréal to Vancouver. This reflects the airline’s plans to operate more internal services in response to increased domestic demand. It states that:

To meet the sustained demand from travelers wishing to uncover more of their Canada this summer, Air Transat offers an extensive program of domestic flights between Calgary, Montréal, Québec CityToronto, and Vancouver. This includes exclusive direct flights between Québec City and Vancouver, a first for the airline.”

Air Transat will target both domestic and international leisure travelers this summer. Photo: Getty Images

A busy summer ahead

All in all, Air Transat’s busy summer program will see the airline serve 24 routes 16 destinations. To support these plans, three more Airbus A321LRs will come onboard, bringing the carrier’s total fleet of these long-range narrowbodies to 10 aircraft.

In terms of destinations, Air Transat will supplement its domestic offering with extensive international coverage. The carrier will serve the neighboring US (Fort Lauderdale and Orlando), as well as various Central American holiday hotspots. Long-haul services are also returning, with Portugal (Lisbon and Porto) and the UK (London) on the cards.

What do you make of Air Transat’s return to the skies? Are you planning on flying with the Canadian carrier this summer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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