State aid in the Romanian aviation sector: invitation to submit comments

The European Commission invites interested parties to submit their comments, pursuant to Article 108(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, with regards to two State Aid investigations involving Romania in the aviation sector.

In the first case SA.33769 (2015/C) the European Commission takes the preliminary view that Romania granted to Wizz Air, Ryanair and other airlines operating at Târgu-Mureş Transilvania airport, a level of airport charges so low that it could constitute a selective economic advantage as compared to other companies operating in the internal market.

In the second case SA.32963 (2015/C), the European Commission finds on a preliminary basis that Romania provided a selective economic advantage to Wizz Air, stemming from the Ground Handling Agreement and the Marketing Agreement entered into between Wizz Air and the Cluj-Napoca airport operator. The Commission doubts, at this stage, that both agreements comply with the Market Economy Operator Principle (“MEOP”).

In both investigations Romania has justified the measures at stake, in part, as compensation for the provision of services of general economic interest (‘SGEI’) and, in part, as financing for the provision of certain services by the State in its exercise of public authority powers. The Commission nevertheless considers that the measures concerned neither comply with the conditions stated by the SGEI Framework and the “Guidelines on State aid to airports and airlines”, nor with the MEOP.