The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €29.8 million Slovak aid scheme to compensate airport operators for the damage suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak and to support them in the context of this outbreak. In order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, on 11 March 2020, the government of Slovakia implemented certain restrictive measures, including travel restrictions and a flight ban effective from 13 March 2020, which significantly limited flights operated in Slovakia until 30 June 2020. The aid is composed of three measures: (i) a damage compensation scheme; (ii) an aid scheme to support the airport operators up to a maximum of €800,000 per beneficiary; and (iii) an aid scheme to support the uncovered fixed costs of these companies. The aid will take the form of direct grants, for a total amount of €29.8 million. The damage compensation scheme will be open to operators of Slovak airports that handled more than 200,000 passengers in 2019. Under this measure, the Slovak authorities will compensate airports for the net losses suffered during the period between 13 March and 30 June 2020 as a result of the restrictive measures implemented in order to contain the spread of the virus. The Commission assessed this measure under Article 107(2)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and found that it 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 what is necessary to make good the damage. With regards to the other two measures, the Commission found that they are in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the aid will be granted no later than 30 June 2021 and will not exceed: (i) €800,000 per beneficiary under the second measure; and (ii) up to €3 million in case of support for the uncovered fixed costs of the airports. The Commission concluded that the measures are 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 three measures 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.59240 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.
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