Commission approves €120 million Italian State aid scheme to support the establishment of new air routes from and to Calabria

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €120 million Italian scheme to support the establishment of new air passenger connections from and to the airports in the Calabria region.

The purpose of the scheme is to improve the connectivity between Calabria and other regions in Europe, as well as the mobility of the residents of Calabria. Under the scheme, which will run until 27 March 2027, the aid will take the form of direct grants. The scheme is open to airlines establishing new connections between any of the three airports in Calabria and a different airport in the European Common Aviation Area. The aid will cover up to 50% of the cost of airport charges incurred by each beneficiary for each newly established air route.

The Commission assessed the scheme under EU State aid rules, in particular Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which allows Member States to support the development of certain economic activities or of certain economic areas under certain conditions. In this context, the Commission also applied the Guidelines on State aid to airports and airlines, which provides guidance on the compatibility with the internal market of aid to airlines to start a new air route with the aim to increase the connectivity of a region.

The Commission found that the scheme is necessary and appropriate to support new air passenger connections in a region where air travel is essential to ensure the mobility of its residents. Moreover, the Commission found that the measure is necessary as potential beneficiaries would not carry out the investments without the public support. Finally, the Commission concluded that the scheme is proportionate as the aid is limited to the minimum necessary, and will have a limited impact on competition and trade in the EU. On this basis, the Commission approved the Italian scheme under EU State aid rules.