A European Commission working paper has been issued dealing with state aid
to low-priced airlines. Last year Ryanair was ordered to repay vast sums of
money received from the Belgium government for operating from Charleroi airport
outside Brussels. The communication recognises that subsidies to airlines under
certain conditions may be deemed necessary to enable certain regional airports
to become commercially viable, but the test for whether a measure is lawful
will be subject to strict conditions. Only aid in relation to smaller airports
in certain locations would be permissible and it would be granted for no more
than five years.

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