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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 January, 2004, 16:25 GMT
Ryanair fears defeat on subsidies

Quentin Sommerville
BBC Europe business reporter in Brussels

Ryanair
Ryanair expects the worst from the court ruling
Cut price airline Ryanair says it appears to have lost a dispute over the state subsidies it is paid to fly to Charleroi airport in Belgium.

A formal ruling is expected next week, but Ryanair says it will have to repay several million pounds in subsidies.

The airline also says the ruling will mean a ban on future subsidies, which will threaten many of its routes.

Ryanair manages to keep fares low by negotiating discounts at airports that want to attract more passengers.

It says that without those discounts, many of the routes would be uneconomical, and would have to be cut.

Appeal

But the low-cost operator met the European Commission on Monday night and was told that the subsidies were illegal and would have to end.

Ryanair will also have to repay millions of dollars in marketing support it received from Brussels Charleroi airport.

Ryanair's boss, Michael O'Leary, says this is the worst possible result, and that he will appeal against the Commission's formal ruling when it is issued next Tuesday.




SEE ALSO:
Depressed region fears Ryanair exit
03 Feb 04  |  Business
Ryanair loses Strasbourg appeal
18 Dec 03  |  Business
Ryanair braced for Belgium ruling
12 Nov 03  |  Business
Profits news gives Ryanair lift
03 Nov 03  |  Business
Airline creates 200 jobs
29 Oct 03  |  Scotland
Ryanair halts Strasbourg flights
26 Aug 03  |  Business


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