State aid: Commission approves €18.2 million aid for Saarbrücken airport in Germany

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, German operating aid of €18.2 million to Saarbrücken airport. Saarbrücken airport is a small regional airport located in the German federal state of Saarland. It is operated by publicly owned company Flug-Hafen-Saarland. In 2017, the Commission approved an initial operating aid of €12 million to Saarbrücken airport until April 2019. Germany notified its intention to grant additional operating aid to the airport until 2024. The Commission assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, in particular the rules on operating aid for small airports under the Aviation Guidelines, which were recently prolonged until 2024. The Commission found that, while in the course of 2019 the airport had experienced a growth in passengers, since the start of coronavirus outbreak, it suffered a significant reduction of its services, as a result of the imposition of travel restrictions introduced by Germany and by many destination countries to limit the spread of the coronavirus. When assessing the proportionality of the measure under Aviation Guidelines., the Commission took these exceptional circumstances into account. The Commission also concluded that the measure will contribute to improving the connectivity of citizens and facilitating regional development in the region, without unduly distorting competition in the Single market. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.55302 once confidentiality issues have been resolved.