State aid: Commission approves €6.37 million aid for Debrecen airport in Hungary

The European Commission has found that operating aid of approximately €6.37 million (almost HUF 2.2 billion) to secure the functioning of the Debrecen airport in Hungary is in line with EU State aid rules. Debrecen airport is a small regional airport located in Hungary’s Northern Great Plain region. It is operated by Debrecen International Airport Kft., which is majority owned by Debrecen Municipality. Following the recent difficulties experienced, the operating aid, which covers the period 2019-2024, aims to keep the airport running until it gradually becomes profitable again. The Commission assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, in particular the rules on operating aid for small airports under the Aviation Guidelines. It found that, while in the past three years the airport had experienced a significant growth in passengers, the coronavirus outbreak severely impacted its operations and future growth prospects. When assessing the appropriateness and proportionality of the measure under the Guidelines, the Commission took these exceptional circumstances into account. In particular, the Commission concluded that the measure will contribute to improving the region’s connectivity and development, as well as alleviating air traffic congestion, without unduly distorting competition in the Single market. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the operating aid is in line with EU State aid rules. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.57109 once confidentiality issues have been resolved.