European Commission orders Ryanair to repay aid to German airport; Irish carrier to appeal

Associated Press

The European Commission has ordered Ryanair to repay more than 300,000 euros ($400,000) provided by a German airport to sustain the Irish budget airline's business, ruling it amounted to illegal state aid.

Ryanair says it plans to appeal Wednesday's judgment that the airline exploited tiny Leipzig-Alternberg Airport in eastern Germany with a 2010 marketing contract that benefited Ryanair, not the airport.

Continue Reading Below

The judgment concluded that the marketing deal to promote the airport on Ryanair's Web sites offered no prospect of returning a profit to the airport "even in the long term."

Ryanair operated from the airstrip south of Leipzig from 2003 to 2011. During that period the Dublin-based carrier rapidly expanded its route network across Europe by negotiating hardball contracts with small, disused regional airports.