EU court backs Ryanair challenge to KLM, TAP state aid

BRUSSELS, May 19 (Reuters) - Europe’s second-highest court on Wednesday upheld Ryanair’s fight against billions of euros in state aid granted to its rivals KLM and TAP but dismissed its challenge to a 10-billion-euro ($12.2 billion) Spanish fund for virus-hit companies.

“The General Court annuls the (European) Commission’s decision to approve the Netherlands financial aid for the airline KLM amid the COVID-19 pandemic on the grounds of inadequate reasoning,” the Luxembourg-based Court said.

Judges also annulled the EU executive’s clearance of state aid for Portuguese carrier TAP, citing “an inadequate statement of reasons” by the Commission.

The court said the annulments and recovery of the state aid would be suspended pending new decisions by the Commission.

The cases are T-465/20 Ryanair v Commission, T-643/20 Ryanair v Commission and T-628/20 Ryanair v Commission.

$1 = 0.8187 euros Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Louise Heavens