The European Commission has approved a €22.2 million Cypriot scheme to support Hermes Airports Limited (‘Hermes’), an airport operator of Larnaka and Pafos international airports affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The support will take the form of a term loan facility in order to remedy the difficulties which Hermes faces. The aim of the scheme is to ensure sufficient liquidity for Hermes in order to meet its financial obligations and continue operating. The Cypriot airports contribute significantly to the Cypriot economy by ensuring connectivity for businesses and by conveying tourists to the country. In addition, the two airports operating Larnaka and Pafos will help addressing the effects of the coronavirus crisis when it comes to reconnecting Cypriot companies with international customers and will help boosting tourism once the health crisis ends. The Commission considers that the aid to Hermes will contribute to limit the negative impact of the coronavirus crisis and will contribute towards addressing a serious disturbance in the Cypriot economy. The Commission found the measure to be in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the aid measure will be granted until the end of 2020, (ii) the maturity of the loan is six years, and (iii) the overall amount of the loan is not more than 25% of the total turnover of Hermes in 2019. The Commission therefore concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other 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.58923 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.
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