State aid: Commission approves €500,000 Portuguese scheme to support passenger transport sector in Azores in context of coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €500,000 Portuguese scheme to support the passenger transport sector in the Region of the Azores in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The aid will take the form of direct grants and the measure will be open to collective passenger transport companies of all sizes active in the Azores. The purpose of the measure is to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages that these companies are facing due to the coronavirus outbreak and the restrictive measures that the government had to implement to limit the spread of the virus. The Commission found that the Portuguese scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the support will not exceed €1.8 million per company; and (ii) the aid will be granted no later than 31 December 2021. The Commission 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 of 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.63010 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.