August 2, 2019 / 9:49 AM / 22 days ago

EU tells France to recover 8.5 million euros illegal aid from Ryanair

FILE PHOTO: Passengers wait to board a Ryanair flight at Gatwick Airport in London, Britain. Aug 23, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU competition regulators on Friday ordered France to recover 8.5 million euros (7.75 million pounds) in illegal aid granted to Ryanair (RYA.I) at Montpellier airport because it gave the Irish low-cost carrier an unfair advantage.

Ryanair served the airport in the south of France until April 2019. The European Commission started an investigation following a complaint from a Ryanair rival.

The EU antitrust enforcer said the case centred on about 8.5 million euros paid to the airline and its subsidiary AMS by the Association for the Promotion of Touristic and Economic Flows (APFTE) between 2010 and 2017 for promoting Montpellier and the surrounding area on Ryanair’s website.

APFTE is funded almost entirely by regional and local public entities which control the use of its budget.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Francesco Guarascio

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