EU authorises 351 mln euro state loan to Finnair due to pandemic

BRUSSELS, March 12 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Friday it had authorised a loan of 351 million euros ($419 million) from the Finnish government to airline Finnair as compensation for losses suffered during the pandemic.

The airline, similar to other competitors, incurred significant operating losses due to travel restrictions in Finland and destination countries, the Commission said.

“With the measure we approved today, Finland will compensate Finnair for damages directly suffered as a result of such restrictions,” EU antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

The state aid, in the form of a hybrid loan, will cover losses for the period between 16 March 2020 and 31 December 2020, the Commission said. ($1 = 0.8377 euros) (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)