BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Irish budget carrier Ryanair’s (RYA.L) agreement with Finland’s Tampere-Pirkkala airport is not against EU state aid rules, the European Commission said on Wednesday.
The airport, operated by stated-owned Finavia, refurbished a former cargo hangar in 2002 and signed an exclusive agreement with the Irish airline in 2003, which led to a complaint from a competitor four years later.
The Commission said its investigation showed that the arrangements made were not in breach of EU rules as Ryanair was not given an unfair advantage and Finavia as well as its subsidiary Airpro had benefited.
“This decision shows that the Commission takes full account of business realities in the aviation sector,” EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a written statement.
Reporting By Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Rex Merrifield