Published 27 August 2021
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, most - if not all - EU airlines have faced immense financial difficulties due to the sharp fall in air travel demand. The EU responded to the pandemic and its financial implications by implementing a series of regulatory measures, which amend the common State aid EU legal regime. The paper intends to provide a dynamic snapshot of State aid to airlines in the European Union during such an unprecedented crisis. This situation, in fact, has made it necessary for the Union to rethink the EU competition law regime and to provide a new temporary framework, which de facto allows governments to 'more freely' support their national air carriers. In this view, the paper identifies and discusses the characteristics and peculiarities of this extraordinary regime. With significant financial aid to national air carriers, however, there grows an evident asymmetry, which is both internal to the EU itself and external vis-à-vis third-country air carriers. In this respect, many complaints have been lodged with the European Commission by other EU airlines. The paper also investigates whether the current regime is suitable for settling such disputes and for ensuring that fair competition between airlines is maintained.
This paper will be part of the TDM Special Issue on "Old and New Disputes in Aerospace Law". More information here www.transnational-dispute-management.com/news.asp?key=1858