The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €10 million Italian aid measure to compensate Toscana Aeroporti, the operator of the Pisa and Florence airports, for the damage it suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak. In order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, on 10 March 2020, Italy imposed a nationwide lockdown. The lockdown was lifted as of 3 June 2020, but certain travel warnings, travel bans and restrictive measures remained in place until at least 15 June 2020. This resulted in high operating losses for the operator of the Pisa and Florence airports. The measure, which will take the form of a direct grant, will enable the Italian authorities to compensate Toscana Aeroporti for the damage suffered during the period between 10 March and 15 June 2020, as a result of the restrictive measures on international and domestic air passenger services implemented by Italy and other countries to limit the spread of the virus. The Commission assessed the measure under Article 107(2)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which enables the Commission to approve State aid measures granted by Member States to compensate companies for the damage directly caused by exceptional occurrences, such as the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found that the notified measure will provide compensation for damage that is directly linked to the coronavirus outbreak. It also found that the measure is proportionate, as the compensation does not exceed (and is actually lower) than what is necessary to make good the damage. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the scheme is in line with EU State aid rules. More information on actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.59518 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.
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