State aid: Commission approves prolongation of public service compensation to Bornholm airport in Denmark

The European Commission has found the prolongation of the Danish public support to the airport of Bornholm to be in line with EU State aid rules. The public funding facilitates regional connectivity and contributes to the area’s development without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. Bornholm airport is located on an island in the Baltic Sea and is entrusted with the operation of a service of general economic interest (SGEI) requiring it to receive all airlines that wish to fly to and from it. The entrustment to Bornholm Airport of a SGEI was originally approved by the Commission in February 2018. Today’s decision concerns the prolongation of this entrustment until 2023, with an yearly amount of public compensation of approximately €3.5 million (DKK 26 million). The Commission assessed this measure under its 2014 Guidelines on State aid to airports and airlines, which allow Member States to grant aid in the form of SGEI compensation to airports that have an important role for regional connectivity. The Commission’s investigation found that without the airport, the island of Bornholm would face significant disadvantages in terms of connectivity and economic development compared to other European regions, as the airport is the most important connection hub for its population to reach the Danish mainland and for tourists from the rest of Europe to reach Bornholm. In line with the Guidelines, the Commission also ensured that the compensation cannot be used to directly subsidise any airline serving the airport. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the State Aid Register under the case number SA.57878.