#StateAid: Lübeck-Blankensee airport decisions adopted by the European Commission

The European Commission has found a number of different measures concerning the financing and privatisation of Lübeck airport to be in line with EU state aid rules, in particular its 2014 Aviation Guidelines.

Lübeck Blankensee (IATA: LBC) is a small regional airport in the north of Germany, 78 km from Hamburg. Until all scheduled air traffic ceased on 15 April 2016, it was used for low-cost, and some occasional charter traffic.

Following an in-depth investigation the Commission has concluded in particular that the City of Lübeck’s re-purchase of the majority of shares in Lübeck airport from Infratil, Ltd., a New Zealand-based infrastructure investment company, was carried out on market terms and therefore involved no state aid.

As to the financing measures in favour of Lübeck airport, the Commission found that they were no longer caught under EU state aid rules, since Lübeck airport has ceased its main economic activity and no longer operates scheduled or charter flights.

Moreover, the Commission found that de-icing charges and airport charges that airlines had to pay were applicable to all airlines using the airport. These charges were therefore not selective and involved no state aid to the airlines.

The latter, in relation to airport charges, was confirmed by a judgment by the EU Court of Justice in December 2016, which enabled the Commission to conclude its assessment (Case C-524/14).

Finally, the Commission found that the terms of an agreement regarding airport charges and marketing arrangements concluded in 2000 between Lübeck airport and Ryanair would have been acceptable to a profit-driven airport manager and also involved no state aid.

  • SA.31149 Germany, Lübeck-Blankensee airport – Alleged State aid to Infratil and to the airport (Decision)
  • SA.27585 Germany, Lübeck-Blankensee Airport – Alleged State aid to the airport and Infratil (2) (Decision)
  • SA.21877 Germany, Lübeck-Blankensee airport – Alleged aid to the airport, airport manager Infratil and Ryanair (Decision)